Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #172 Don’t Look Now

In Uncategorized on March 28, 2011 at 7:13 AM

Movie #172 Don’t Look Now

(1973, US, d. Nicolas Roeg)

I can kind of see why this film has a lot written about it: it was among the first elusive occult thrillers that could be considered part of art cinema as well. I get that. It’s just hard not to see the film in a modern context. From today’s perspective, the acting borders much too often on completely cheesy, the editing is atrocious, there is no subtlety at all about the thematic content, and most of all – the scares are far too predictable. However, these are all the things that made it praiseworthy in its original release. As I try to put myself into the shoes of an original viewer, there are still some faults with the film. In my opinion, it had the potential to be an incredible thriller. Released just a few years after my favorite movie of all time (Roman Polanksi’s Rosemary’s Baby), Don’t Look Now employed the opposite trick in terms of its editing. Rather than being subtle, it was overt, extreme, and at times, completely unnecessary. It was this editing that ruined that thematic core of the film. Based off a short story by the talented Daphne du Maurier (a writer I will always thank my AP English teacher for introducing me to), Don’t Look Now was executed in adept hands but cut in the wrong ones – an effect that often produced more laughs than cries. But if you take that out of the picture, it suddenly becomes a very touching portrait of what grief does to people. Using that as the primary thrust of the film, Don’t Look Now is also a huge homage to Hitchcock. Employing classic Hitchcockian tools of direction and misdirection, cuts, and tension-building sequences, the film raises its own standard quite effectively. I won’t make too much notice of its incredibly long and erotic sex sequence – perhaps too long – but all the while, another stamp to the film’s audacity to provide audience’s with a unique treat.

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