The current master of macabre did a tribute to a historical master with his short story Dolan’s Cadillac. For the love of god, Montresor. That same story has now been adapted into a film with all the trappings of our modern world, but the results are just as vengeful.
Tom (Wes Bentley) and Elizabeth Robinson (Emmanuelle Vaugier) are happily married schoolteachers. One evening, she decides to go riding in the desert. Bad idea since she witnesses the murder of some coyotes smuggling women across the border.
The now deceased smugglers are in the employ of slimy gangster Jimmy Dolan (Christian Slater). Elizabeth tries to call the authorities but is spotted and barely gets away with her life but drops her cellphone. The couple goes to FBI agent Fletcher (Al Sapienza) to turn in Dolan.
When they arrive home, they find a gruesome reminder to keep their mouths shut. The couple enters witness protection until the date of the trial, however, Dolan remains free. Months go by and they begin to get cabin fever. Elizabeth has been trying to get pregnant and one morning gets sick.
She’s not happy to be puking in the toilet until she realizes that it’s morning sickness. She reaches over for her handy pregnancy tests but the box is empty.
She sneaks out of the hotel room to go and get some more, Tom and the FBI minders see her get in the car, and when she starts it the witness against Dolan goes up in flames thanks to his thug (Greg Bryk).
Tom is devastated and falls into depression, drink, and thoughts of revenge. His ham-fisted attempt just serves to piss off Dolan who lets him live because he tells him that he doesn’t have the stones to pull the trigger.
Tom gets a job on the road crew that services the roadway between Vegas and L.A., the route that Dolan travels on like clockwork in his custom Cadillac SUV, to gather up his stones and plot a more creative way at getting back at Dolan.
Dolan’s Cadillac is Stephen King’s take on Edgar Allan Poe’s the Cask of Amontillado. He adapts the elder master’s tale of revenge with a modern gloss that includes Cadillac’s and mobsters. Director Jeff Beesley does the same and adds cellphones and the internet into the mix (most horror films these days have to come up with some way of disabling those electronic beasties living on everyone’s hip these days).
Both versions steal Poe’s final lines and are tales of revenge. Both of them are short stories and the film has to lay on some more plot to stretch it to an 88 minute running time and keep the bits that make both short stories most compelling.
Beesley has done just that and the additions don’t feel like too much padding. Christian Slater is having a good, yet vile, time channeling his inner Nicholson as the gangster. He even instills a smidge of humanity when a new cargo is brought to his attention, but even so his Dolan is not a very nice human being. Bentley is also good as the distraught husband who turns his mind towards revenge.
His method is pretty ingenious and there’s even some vacillating when he discovers that the law is finally catch Dolan and maybe he doesn’t have to follow through this his plan. Although we should’ve had more between him and his late wife. It’s still a decent adaptation of both stories.
Dolan’s Cadillac is presented in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Special features include the 24 minute “Behind the wheel of Dolan’s Cadillac” making of and 19 minutes of “B-Roll Footage.”
Dolan’s Cadillac could’ve sputtered and stalled, but Christian Slater chews the scenery with such gusto that it barrels on. Vengeance is best served cold, but Tom’s method is very creative and we’ll not be finding the missing Dolan anytime soon.
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