Sunday, April 26, 2009

Don't Look Now (1973)

Note: This review was originally posted on a message board forum. I am reposting it here for archival purposes. It has been backdated to the date of its original posting.

Don't Look Now is a piece of classic horror/thriller cinema. A young married couple spends some time in Venice while trying to get over the loss of their daughter in a tragic drowning. They meet a pair of elderly sisters, one of which is blind and a psychic, who warns them of danger. The wife is reassured by their supposed contact with the deceased child, but the husband is understandably skeptical. The mystery deepens as the story unfolds.

The one main strike against this film is that it hasn't really aged all that well. But beyond that one point, it's a very effective thriller, and is quite capable of conjuring a suitably frightening atmosphere - for its time. The ending is particularly notable, though I don't want to spoil just what happens.

I also must mention the sex scene. I was impressed with the sex scene - one of the better sex scenes I've seen in all of cinema. It was very sweet and intimate - and felt natural, not forced. It was much more honest than "Hollywood sex", but it wasn't explicit (even though it allegedly rose some controversy in its time). You saw a lot, such that it didn't feel like it was carefully choreographed to cover up anything "offensive" (an approach I despise), but you didn't see everything, so that it maintained an air of sophistication. Overall, it just felt very real, and I believe it really helped the characterization of this couple and the troubles they were going through, and reinforced the fact that they did indeed love one another (despite their arguments). It was also shot very artistically, interspersed with corresponding shots of them getting dressed for dinner afterwards (in an almost Alan Moore-esque dance of juxtaposition). It would be nice to see more of this kind of approach to sex in cinema. Of course, this movie is now over 35 years old, and look where we are now...

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