Newest Reviews
Boys from County Hell
All Hands On Deck
Beasts Clawing at Straws
Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Windom's Way
True Don Quixote, The
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Newest Articles
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
  Don't Look Now Peril In Venice
Year: 1973
Director: Nicolas Roeg
Stars: Donald Sutherland, Julie Christie, Hilary Mason, Clelia Matania, Massimo Serato, Renato Scarpo, Giorgio Trestini, Leopoldo Trieste, David Tree, Ann Rye, Nicholas Salter, Sharon Williams, Bruno Cattaneo, Adelina Poerio
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: John Baxter (Donald Sutherland) was sitting studying slides from his work as a restorer after his Sunday lunch, while his wife Laura (Julie Christie) lounged nearby in the front room, poring through books to find out the answer to a question their daughter Christine had posed about why surface ice on frozen ponds is flat and not curved. The little girl is playing outside in the Winter cold with her brother when she becomes entranced with the pond in the grounds of their country cottage, and edges too close to it. While this is happening, John accidentally spills drink on a slide, which seems to trigger something in him as he moves towards the door, outside and rushing now to the pond where he wades in to try and save his daughter. But it's too late: Christine has drowned.

The deliberately off-kilter Don't Look Now began life as a Daphne du Maurier short story and became a film which has puzzled its audiences ever since (du Maurier loved it), under the direction of Nicolas Roeg who was continuing his highly individual style into the nineteen-seventies, where experimentation was more welcome in the mainstream than it is today. Though this wasn't a blockbuster, it became a popular talking point among those who had seen it and word of mouth urging others to check it out to see if they could explain it, and most of all be hit with the shock ending, meant it was a work whose reputation served it well down the decades. There was another aspect which received interest, maybe more, and that was one of Roeg's typically frank sex scenes.

This happens once the Baxters have travelled to Venice so John can throw himself into his latest project in an attempt to cope with the grief of their loss, the son left behind at boarding school. But that drive to prove life must go on is somewhat scuppered by the overwhelming sense of forces beyond our ken either guiding us or determined to trip us up, and the feeling of helplessness conveyed by watching the central couple try to live in the mundane world amounts to one of the creepiest of all horror films from this decade. That was not wholly down to the ending, though it is one of the freakiest denouements ever captured, but more down to the manner Roeg kicked off the bleak story with a wrenching tragedy, and never allowed the pressure of death to let up for the whole two hours.

While John and Laura are in a wintry Venice, off season and inhabited by nobody much except the locals, she happens to notice a middle aged pair of sisters watching them in a restaurant and events contrive to have them meet. They are the carer Wendy (Clelia Matania) and her sibling Heather (Hilary Mason) who is blind but also has the ability of second sight, and she claims she has sensed a little girl in a red raincoat sitting between the bereaved couple, which intrigues Laura yet John thinks they are making it up, wishing to move on from his loss and not consider any of what he terms "mumbo jumbo". However, what if he holds the psychic power himself, or it could be the spectre of death is so overwhelming that as events build to their disturbing climax that he cannot help but experience echoes of both past and future?

The love scene was important because it is the first time the Baxters have been intimate since Christine died, which is also the reason it comes across as so personal it's almost as if we're intruding on their privacy, a mood underlined by the manner Roeg intercuts the sex with shots of them dressing in a relaxed mood. This also established the bond between them, as they may have suffered but that does not mean their marriage has broken down, which in addition renders the inevitable conclusion to their story all the more melancholy. The photography conjured up such a vivid quality of place that even if you'd never been to Venice you'd feel as if you had, and that only makes for an uneasier watch for the city has the reputation of its aesthetic pleasure yet here we are seeing it in decay, sinister and menacing since we have been told there is a serial killer at large. When John begins catching sight of a red-coated figure he is both unnerved and hopeful that he can reconcile with his deceased daughter, but there's a haunting, horrible comedy to that punchline in a chiller classic. Music by Pino Donaggio.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2166 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film


Nicolas Roeg  (1928 - 2018)

An acclaimed British cinematographer on sixties films such as Dr Crippen, Masque of the Red Death, Fahrenheit 451, Petulia and Far From the Madding Crowd, Roeg turned co-director with Performance. The seventies were a golden age for Roeg's experimental approach, offering up Walkabout, Don't Look Now, The Man Who Fell To Earth and Bad Timing, but by the eighties his fractured style fell out of favour with Eureka, Insignificance and Track 29. The Witches was an unexpected children's film, but the 1990s and beyond saw him working mostly in television.

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf


Last Updated: