in Shocktober

Shocktober: Day 13

Don’t Look Now (1973)

Dir: Nicolas Roeg
Cast: Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland

Before he was a director Nicolas Roeg was a talented Cinematographer. His work included The Masque of the Red Death, Fahrenheit 451, portions of Doctor Zhivago and even some contributions to the visual look of Lawrence of Arabia as a second unit photographer. Then in the early 70s he became a director but you could still feel that same visual flare in his films and Don’t Look Now is a prime example.

Laura (Julie Christie) and John Baxter (Donald Sutherland) are a married couple who have recently lost their daughter. With their marriage on the rocks, the two decide to take a “working vacation” to Venice. Here John has been contracted to restore an old church while Laura befriends a pair of eccentric twin sisters who claim to have psychic powers! Laura becomes drawn in when one sister claims to have made contact without the couple’s daughter.

Meanwhile a series of grisly murders are taking place across the city. Why attention is drawn to this subplot is unclear, until the end and it’s a doozy. So John begins to catch glimpses of a childlike figure who resembles his daughter wandering the city, he follows it but is unsuccessful in ever catching it. From there on the film only descends into further madness as the character’s start to question their sanity, it’s a real trip to say the least.

Now Don’t Look Now isn’t the most exciting thriller. It can try your patience with some achingly slow moments but there’s other aspects to enjoy. Like I said it’s a beautifully photographed film, very picturesque locations and overall pleasing cinematography. Christie and Sutherland have an intense chemistry that’s almost unsettling, they share a surprisingly graphic love scene together.

Though there’s one big reason i still remember this movie and look back to it and that’s the end. It’s a twisty and disturbing finale of the finest caliber and it always freaks me out. Hell, I can’t go on without spilling the beans so here I go. (Spoiler Ahead!) So remember that child-like figure Donald Sutherland is chasing? Well it turns out it’s actually this creepy midget woman who just happens to be the murderer everyone’s looking for. So she stabs Sutherland with the only words he can say being “Wait… Wait…” Gives me chills just thinking about it.


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