Roeg is not your average director and “Don’t Look Now” is not your average
movie. For one, it has the most horrific opening of any movie I can recall.
Parents finding their little daughter downed in a pond. In writing this is sort
of flat, but in the naturalistic presentation of Roeg, this is completely
devastating and had this not been a List movie I would have stopped there and
then. This is a parent’s worst nightmare and I feel sick just thinking of that
How do you
move on from something like that?
(Julie Christie) and John Baxter (Donald Sutherland) go to Venice to work it
off. John is a specialist restoring old buildings and got a job fixing an old church.
This is not your typical Venice scene though. It is winter and Venice is grey
and moldy and largely empty and thus a mirror on Laura and John.
meets two old British women, one of which, Heather (Hilary Mason), claims to be
psychic and that she has seen Laura’s daughter, Christine, and that she is
happy. Shocked at first, this does inject new life into Laura who starts
obsessing about this. John, on the other hand is sceptic until he also gets
signs that something weird is going on.
we are, a ghost story in Venice… maybe.
is very difficult to work out what is actually going on. Or more importantly,
why? “Don’t Look Now” takes us on a dizzying trip through Venice where the
border between reality and the supernatural becomes blurred. John is getting
increasingly confused, seeing his wife where she is not supposed to be, seeing
what could be his daughter in the alleys and have a close call with death when
the scaffolding crash in the church.
populated this story with strange characters, symbols and motifs, which all
seem foreboding. It is creepy more than it is horrific and rather confusing too.
Nothing is entirely what it seems, but we rarely learn what it really is.
I am having
some trouble deciphering “Don’t look now” and is mostly left with it’s themes
of death, decay and doom. John has some prescience, but it never helps him.
Instead, he is tied to downward spiral. Much more I cannot glean from this. I
was expecting some sort of closure or catharsis at the end, but got no such
thing. This is just not that kind of movie.
not mean that this is a poor movie, not at all. It totally works at making you
uneasy. The sense of doom is subtle enough that you rarely see it outright, but
it is there, just beneath the surface. Whether it is the grey and creepy alleys
or the strange policeman. Echoes between houses or the dark water in the canal.
flashbacks and visions in glimpses to let us into the heads on Laura and
particularly John. This is part of the dizzying effect, but also let us share
their emotions, which is crucial in this move.
And then we
are invited into their bedroom, like for real. Not sure I really needed that.
Know” is one of those movies I probably need to watch a few times. At this point
I find it intriguing and disturbing as if I have only scraped the surface, but
not disappointed as I sometimes are when I am being left confused at the end of
recommendation, if you can get past that first scene.