Tuesday, March 11, 2014

568. Don't Look Now (1973)


Running Time: 110 minutes
Directed By: Nicholas Roeg
Written By: Allan Scott, Chris Bryant, from story by Daphne Du Maurier
Main Cast: Donald Sutherland, Julie Christie, Hilary Mason, Clelia Matania, Massimo Serato
Click here to view the trailer

SUTHERLAND'S PERM

Is it awful that the thing I MAY remember this movie for is the vicious man perm of Donald Sutherland? I'm sure that's not true, but DAMN, what a head of hair Kiefer's daddy was sporting in this one - worth the price of admission alone. Anyway, the movie is "Don't Look Now"...read on...


When their young daughter dies during a drowning accident, John Baxter (Sutherland), along with his wife Laura (Christie), takes a job in Venice restoring an old church for a somewhat grumpy bishop (Serato). By this time, the pain of losing their daughter (not their only child, as they also have a son who is attending boarding school, back home in England) has somewhat eased. Don't worry, this isn't one of those "we lost our child and now our marriage is falling apart" movies. Anyway, when out to lunch one day, the couple are approached by two elderly women: Wendy (Mason) and the blind, psychic Heather (Matania), the latter of which claims to have seen the Baxter's daughter - Christine - standing beside them at their lunch table, laughing. She claims that the girl was wearing a red, shiny coat, which is the coat that the little girl died in. Laura eats Heather's claims up with a spoon, while John is the hesitant one, who brushes off the ladies' claims. Following that, Laura decides to pay the ladies a visit and hold a seance. During the seance, Heather tells Laura that John is in trouble and that the two must leave Venice right away. Again, John doesn't care and brushes off the blind woman's claims and chalks his wife's crazy ideas up to her being ill. After that, the two receive a call from England, telling them that their son has been in an accident and that one of them needs to come home right away. Laura decides to go, while John stays behind. The next morning, John sees Laura off as she goes to catch a plane home, however, later that day, he spots her with the two old women. The second half of the film deals with John running around the beautiful, yet cryptic streets of Venice looking for Laura.

SPOILER ALERT!


One that I was really looking forward to and one that I really did enjoy, although I have to say, I may not have enjoyed it as much as I thought I would. Could it have been the way I hyped myself up for this one or perhaps the fact that I had to watch it via YouTube (available for purchase on YouTube if anyone else is interested), sitting in an uncomfortable chair, not to mention the quality was kinda crappy. I'll start out with the bad and then we'll segue into the good stuff, deal?

For one thing, the film had a fine plot, yet it didn't seem to have enough material to cover it's entire running time, therefore, there's are some chunks where we're just kind of waiting around until the next bullet point. That may not even be a gripe, because while we're waiting, we're treated to the glorious city scenes of Venice, which is a character in it's own right. And is it just me, or are there some plot holes in this one? Now, again, this may not be a legit gripe, because this is one that really seems to require multiple viewings in order to put together every piece of the puzzle, but I'm pretty sure there are some plot holes. So we're to believe, in order to understand this movie correctly and for it all to make sense, that John Baxter is psychic, yet doesn't know he's psychic, right? Because that's the only explanation as to why he saw Laura on his funeral boat at about the halfway mark and didn't realize that this was actually a premonition of the future - his funeral. But, if that's the case, why doesn't he realize he is in fact psychic when he gets a vision of his daughter drowning - only to be a few moments too late? He SHOULD know that he is psychic, there should be a conversation in there somewhere that goes something like, "Honey, I had a vision of Christine drowning, that's why I ran outside that day". As it is, John is clueless, which is why he is killed, because he's reluctant to accept his gift, as Heather puts it. Again, maybe I'm missing something and that's very possible.


Also, while I'm posing questions, what's up with the police detective? Did anyone else notice that while John is talking to him, he's busy turning one of the sketches of one of the old ladies into the dwarf that later murders John? Also, speaking of the dwarf, why'd it have to be a wicked old dwarf that killed John? I've seen a few posts on the internet, saying that when the red coat turns around and it's revealed that the killer is really an elderly dwarf, they laughed. Now, I didn't laugh at all and in fact I was shocked, however, I can see why someone might laugh, because in hindsight it is kind of silly isn't it? I guess the ugly dwarf kind of gets that extra thrill at the end, so maybe it works. I really don't know what else you could have had under the hood, as it would've had to have been someone short, so that John could think it was his daughter's ghost.

Anyway, that's a bunch of nitpicking and really, this is a fine film and one that I'd easily recommend. I'm not sure I'd go so far as to consider it a horror film, but it definitely has horror undertones and the city of Venice works perfectly to give it that extra cryptic feel. I loved the chemistry between Sutherland and Christie, which may have been cemented by that particularly graphic, yet sensationally edited sex scene between the two - one that got considerable attention and deemed one of the raunchiest of the time. I, for one, thought the two actors did fine jobs and has really opened my eyes to what a great actress Christie really is (coupled with the performance she gave in "McCabe and Mrs. Miller"). I've always been a Sutherland fan and I'm seriously considering hoisting "Klute" to the top of the list and watching it soon. Anyway, check this one out and make your own conclusions & theories and ask your own questions. Hell, bring all of your thoughts here and slap 'em in the comments section and we can all discuss it together. I didn't do a lot research into the explanations or anything, because I kind of like to develop my own ideas, as opposed to reading others and then not being able to get those out of my head. I assure you this is one that will stick with you, at least for a little bit and one that you're probably gonna' want to watch again right after you finish it.

RATING: 7/10  Can't really go higher than that, at least for now, but it's a fine film and I'd say it only fell a little bit short of reaching my expectations. And another one fore  the TOP 20 candidates list.

MOVIES WATCHED: 816
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 185

March 11, 2014  11:10pm

7 comments:

  1. Please excuse lack of replies.. I;ve had/am getting a bit of a run of visitors this week.
    But.. one visitor I DIDN'T get.. can you believe this.. Amanda was in London.. and didn't call in for a cuppa? I mean.. it's only.. 300 miles. I thought American's were used to driving that to get to the local shops? And knowing the prices of things in London.. she'd probably have been in pocket price wise to make a 600 mile round trip for a free tea and biscuits...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shame on her! I promise, if I'm ever in the area, I'll look you up and would love to chat over a cuppa tea.

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    2. Now that I have heard that you would have custard creams for me, I regret visiting even more! Next time, I swear. Every time I go to visit London, I have vague plans to visit the country but can never bring myself to leave!

      Delete
  2. Another off topic.. Andrew.. recent comments has vanished again...
    There is a clickable thing called 'recent comments widget'.. but all that seems to be is for me to create my own blog..

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    Replies
    1. Fixed it again Ray. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Hopefully this one lasts longer.

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  3. Thank you!
    You really get used to it.. and feel lost when it goes.. and seriously worry you may have missed something. (Especially as William often will add something to an 'archive' post.. and i don't want to miss tat)

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  4. No problem. Let me know if it goes out again.

    ReplyDelete

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