Directed by Jeff Beesly
Written by Richard Dooling (screenplay), Stephen King (short story)
Starring: Christian Slater, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Wes Bentley
Today we have a movie adaptation of Stephen King’s short story Dolan’s Cadillac. This short story can be found in Nightmares and Dreamscapes, which is a collection of short stories from King.
They always say “Revenge is a dish best served cold”. We see first-hand in this film what one husband is willing to go through, physically, mentally, emotionally, in order to get his own justice for his wife’s death…well, murder.
Meet Tom and Elizabeth Robinson. Two people very much in love and enjoying their lives. They are both teachers and enjoy kids. In fact, they have been trying to get pregnant themselves.
While Elizabeth is out for a horse ride one day after work she witnesses the murder of a poor girl who is the apparent victim of human trafficking. This victim is gunned down while running for her life from a moving truck (full of young women) that has been driven over the Mexico border to be delivered to a Mr. Dolan. Dolan is quite “the man”. He has all kinds of money and is a bad enough guy that he has a full-time bodyguard AND driver for his custom Cadillac SUV that he goes everywhere in. (Apparently, he’s made a few REAL enemies in his lifetime thus far.) While Elizabeth sees all of this happen she tries to call for help on her cell phone and drops it while fleeing on her horse, who was startled by the gunshots. Unfortunately, Dolan’s driver finds her cell and keeps it.
Elizabeth is convinced she must go to the police. While they are investigating, she is tracked down by Dolan’s people. She and her husband go into protective custody where they are under constant police surveillance and are living out of a hotel room. They are still trying to get pregnant and when she wakes in the middle of the night puking, she thinks that it’s finally happened. She goes to take a pregnancy test (which this gal should have stock in, she uses enough of them) but, the box is empty. She quickly gets dressed and hurries out the room to their car. Tom wakes and hurries after her only to get out the front door of the hotel just in time to watch the car blow up and she starts it. Of course, she dies.
The rest of the movie is about Robinson and what he does to get revenge on Dolan for killing his wife. I mean, if this guy wasn’t a human trafficker she wouldn’t have seen anything and Dolan wouldn’t have had her killed and he wouldn’t be a widower now. So basically, according to Robinson, Dolan is the reason for all the horror in his life and since the justice system not only moves at a snail’s pace but also isn’t doing much in the way of arresting Dolan, Tom decides he’ll take matters into his own hands.
What does he do? Oh man. Well, first he loses himself in an alcohol and drug induced haze. (Good times, I guess…). He buys a gun, practices shooting and formulates a plan to execute Dolan himself. This plan gets foiled by an unforeseen circumstance and Robinson must rethink his strategy.
He focuses on the fact that Dolan is a man of unbreakable habit. Certain things he does, he does the same time in the same way in the same place every day or every trip or whatever the case may be. Robinson follows Dolan to learn his routines. They even have an exchange in a men’s bathroom where Dolan tells Robinson to stop following him and beats Robinson up.
Robinson finally derives a plan to trap Dolan in the desert during one of his many drives across the barren wasteland. His plan works and he DOES trap Dolan. And this is where his real revenge begins.
Now, as much as I would like to explain the details of his plan, I’m not going to. You really should check it out for yourself.
I loved this movie. I thought it was a great adaptation of the short story, which I have read and even own. I love revenge stories. And this movie left me feeling happy and satisfied. A friend brought up what I thought to be a really good point though. While the story was something to be enjoyed (and I loved it in book form too), this tale may have been a little better suited for something like what they did with Creepshow or Cat’s Eye where it was a compilation of short stories. I do think they drag out the introductions and the beginning a little but, the book was like that too. It took a little bit to get to the nitty gritty. Also, keep in mind that this movie is only an hour and a half long so it’s not some sort of epic film adventure. And if they hadn’t spent so much time on the first half of the movie, it would be more like 45-55 minutes probably.
Still, Christian Slater is great in this film and Wes Bentley (who I always think of as the weird kid from American Beauty) does a good job in his part. The chick…eh…she’s alright. I remember her as one of Charlie’s girlfriends on Two and a Half Men. And while the story is really about her and avenging her death, we could have almost had the movie without her. Now, it’s been a long time since I’ve read the story itself however, if I remember right, it was all from Robinson’s point of view, we didn’t have the wife actually present in the story.
I really enjoyed watching everything play out as the plan came to fruition. This was something that you really feel like you want to get behind the vigilante and see it all through with him. Dolan’s character is loathsome and still can make you laugh. I do wonder if this is a film for all horror lovers. I don’t think it is. I think this is more for die-hard King fans or suspense/thriller lovers. Or fans of revenge. This isn’t going to be something for the blood and gore fans. So just keep that in mind.