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08.17.2017
Don't Look Now (1973)
Movie Review by The Mortician
12.06.12

Don't Look Now (1973) Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie play a married couple whose daughter drowns in a pond when they aren't watching her. This film basically explores the parents' grief and how they deal with the loss. Much in the vein of ROSEMARY'S BABY and (much later) JACOB'S LADDER, this is a movie that delves more into characters and tone than linear storyline. I had read a lot about this film: the visuals, hidden meanings, the divided opinions of those that watched it, and of course, the intense (much ballyhooed in the day!) lovemaking scene performed by Sutherland and Christie (which is admittedly edited pretty tame by today's standards---not to say that it isn't worth watching, Julie is smokin' hot in this movie!). The story is set in Venice, where Sutherland is working on restoring a church (his character is an architect) and his wife tags along. They struggle to put their lives back to normal. To know each other as man and wife, and in their faces and actions, you can feel them pondering why they are allowed to live on and their young daughter wasn't. Depressing stuff here, but in that respect, the sex scene (allegedly the actors really DID the dirty deed on-set!) is extremely relevant from the story's point of view, as the characters find themselves briefly as one again after the loss that they cannot come to terms with. Later, Christie meets some old ladies that (seemingly) have some supernatural powers (one is a psychic) and continues to haunt them to discuss her daughter's existence in the afterlife. Sutherland, who also may or may not have some sort of psychic powers that he completely denies (and that ultimately would have saved his daughter's life if he would've heeded them), is now seeing his deceased daughter all around the city...dressed in the same red coat she drowned in. The image (or hallucination?) begins to draw him in. As Sutherland and Christie fail to come together in their loss, they each fall apart separately amidst a slow nightmare of their own making based on disoriented convictions...and Sutherland begins to prowl the city in search of his dead daughter amidst the nighttime shadows. This is a movie where you just go with the image flow, not trying to figure out the story and 'understand ' the plot, it's more about visual cues and obsessions, actors externalizing their characters' emotions and becoming one with their art. Everything leads to a tragic, downer of an ending, and I won't reveal it here, because this movie isn't remembered by a lot of viewers these days (it has more of a snobbish cinema reputation than a mainstream one). But if you're looking for a slow burn golden-oldie that delivers more dreadful tone than heaps of gore and shows more style over substance, this is a worthy blast from the past.

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