Director: Robert M. Young
Screenwriters: Edward Pomerantz

Institute History

  • 1996 Sundance Film Festival


Reviewing director Robert Young’s long and varied career, one is certainly impressed by the range of his accomplishments. From his groundbreaking debut, Nothing But a Man . . . (codirected with Michael Roemer and released some thirty years ago), to such notable and classic works as Dominick and Eugene, Short Eyes, and The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, to say nothing of his social documentaries and other films which emphasize ideology, Young’s work is remarkably diverse. This is perhaps why his newest feature is both exceptional and a bit of a departure for a director from whom we have come to expect political melodrama rather than sexual steaminess. The passion of Caught is more in the vein of The Postman Always Rings Twice than the Salt of the Earth. In this beautifully and powerfully realized film, Young has fashioned a remarkable depiction of desire and frustration, failure and fulfillment.

When a young drifter, Nick, enters the enclosed universe of a middle-aged couple, Betty and Joe, owners of a small Jersey City fish store, he sparks emotion and a thirst for life that have long been submerged in this stolid, blue-collar marriage. Fueled by compelling performances from Young’s longtime collaborator, Edward James Olmos, and the lively and sensual Maria Conchita Alonso, both of whom worked with Young in Roosters, the drama builds throughout. The situation is furthur complicated by the return of the couple’s adult son, now married and a father, but full of resentment and anger at his seem,ing displacement.

Completely and intricately crafted and with a riveting final denouement, Caught is a rare achievement. It is a film that combines intelligence, sexiness, wormth, and upredictability in a way that is provaocative yet thoroughly entertaining. Caught is a prominent peak in an illustrious career.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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