Domestic Disturbance

Directed by Harold Becker
Starring: John Travolta, Vince Vaughn, Teri Polo, Matthew O'Leary, Steve Buscemi.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, brief sexuality and language.

Review by Eugene Kopman <>
November 15, 2001

John Travolta is back after Swordfish with a more dramatic role in this thriller. I will give Travolta credit, he is back on track to picking a good script, but this takes time.

Travolta plays Frank Morrison: a divorced father whose ex-wife, Susan (Teri Polo), is getting re-married to their small town's newest and wealthiest resident, Rick Barnes (Vince Vaughn). Frank and Susan's son Danny (Matthew O'Leary) is against his parents splitting up, and especially against the new marriage and Rick. Danny's ways of protest are rebellious acts, like breaking car windows, getting into fights and lying to everyone. The only person he truly loves is his father, who is his best friend. At the wedding, Rick is visited by Ray Coleman (Steve Buscemi), a man who claims to be an old friend of Rick's and demands money that Rick owes him.

One night, Danny discovers that his mother and Rick are having a baby and decides to run away to his father's house. He hides in the back of Rick's pick-up because Rick was planning on going to town. From there Danny witnesses Rick murder Ray and then burn his body. Danny manages to escape and tell the police, but due to his previous record of excessive lying, no one believes him but Frank. It is now Frank's job to find out the truth about Rick and protect his son at any cost.

This is a very good story with a good screenplay that didn't drag everything out. The whole cast shines in their performances, especially Travolta and newcomer O'Leary. Vince Vaughn delivers another good performance; unfortunately I have seen him do the same role before in the remake of Psycho. If you pay attention, you can clearly see Vaughn playing Norman Bates and then Mrs. Bates. Also, Danny is supposed to be 12 years of age. No matter how good O'Leary's performance was, he does not look 12, he looks about 16. But the biggest problem with Domestic Disturbance was its predictability. I new exactly what would happen and when, so I was just waiting for it to occur.

Travolta is getting back on track with this interesting thriller; hopefully his next few movies will improve as they go along. He is a great actor, whose talents are wasted on mediocre films.

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Domestic Disturbance (2001)

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