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Review: Don’t Look Now

It figures that the sex scene from Don’t Look Now has become more legendary than the film itself.

Don’t Look Now
Photo: Paramount Pictures

It figures that the sex scene from Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now has become more legendary than the film itself. Forget that Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland were off-screen lovers at the time, the film’s infamous bedroom romp is every bit as devastating and organic as anything else in the film. Easily the most successful film adaptation of a Daphne Du Maurier story (sorry Hitch!), Don’t Look Now is both a chilling horror film and a fascinating portrait of grief. The film’s remarkable dreamlike textures evoke a present constantly slipping into memory. Laura Baxter (Christie) and her husband John (Sutherland) are the parents of a young girl who dies by drowning. Spilling water, a breaking glass, a book (“Beyond the Fragile Geometry of Space”) and a bleeding picture portends the girl’s death while hinting at John’s connection to the world of the dead. In a labyrinthine Venice, John and his wife follow different paths of worship: he helps to rebuild crumbling churches while she ponders the death of their daughter. Roeg’s allusions to sightlessness and his fascination with mirrors and cavernous alleyways evoke a world that is not necessarily disconnected from the afterlife as much as it is unwilling to acknowledge the power of dreams and memory. A lesser writer or director would have cast the woman in the weaker role. As the grieving John, Sutherland spends the entirety of the film looking out at a disintegrating world that demanding his emotional involvement. Tragically, even in death he remains disconnected.

Cast: Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland, Hilary Mason, Clelia Matania, Massimo Serato, Renato Scarpa Director: Nicolas Roeg Screenwriter: Allan Scott, Chris Bryant Distributor: Paramount Pictures Running Time: 110 min Rating: R Year: 1973 Buy: Video, Soundtrack

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