Reviews

Don't Look Now

4

Nicholas Noeg's chiller in Venice continues to unsettle long after viewing...

Don't Look Now review

The sex scene is not a sex scene,” insists Donald Sutherland in the interview extras, nailing the emotional impact of his intimate encounter with Julie Christie in Nicolas Roeg’s Daphne Du Maurier adap.

Evasive? Nope. He’s right, because although this Brit chiller’s more physical scenes are infamous, its radicalism and haunting power are part of Roeg’s ongoing fascination with rendering subconscious states intensely cinematic (see also Performance, Walkabout).

The (spoiler!) killer twist is justly famous, but Don’t Look Now isn’t about gore; it’s about grief and guilt, with spouses John and Laura (Sutherland and Christie, both hugely affecting) recovering in Venice from their daughter’s death. Nor is it about sex; it’s about second-sight and cinema.

As John gets creepy messages from beyond, Roeg represents ESP as through time slips and recurring images, a strategy that shrouds the film in dread and lends the climax its devastating cumulative clout. As the echoing motifs finally converge, we realise the ending has been forewarned all along. M Night Shyamalan, scoff your heart out...

Extras accumulated for this digital restoration include all the 2001 special edition features, plus smart new natters with co-writer Allan Scott, genius DoP Tony Richmond, a twinkling Sutherland and super-fan Danny Boyle, who admits that he can’t recall first seeing the film but can distinctly remember “the impact it had”.

It’s that kind of movie: less about surface literalism than what lies beneath the skin, where it lunges to leave an indelible impression.

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