Working with elements of the traditional horror genre - second sight, ESP, warnings from the dead, a mad killer - and a cinematography of disquieting beauty and dreamlike sense of dislocation, director Nicolas Roeg weaves ... more »a fabric of anxiety that questions all reality. The evocative use of the back streets of Venice is a sinister participant in the action based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier. This intensely erotic and macabre film boasts outstanding performances by Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland.« less
Not for all tastes -- but a brilliant, frightening film
Ryan Harvey | Los Angeles, CA USA | 01/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"DON'T LOOK NOW is a film for people with a particular taste, and the unwary viewer will either be pleasantly or unpleasantly shocked. From a seemingly simple premise -- a couple trying to overcome their daughter's death, and the odd psychic they meet while staying in Venice -- director Nicholas Roeg creates a thriller/horror movie/dazzling puzzles that slowly infects your mind and then shocks you with its bizarre twists.Be warned: this isn't a movie for everyone. It relies on visual puzzles and clues and an incredible lot of misdirection for its effect. This might bore some people; it had me riveted with the first scene and held me up through the mind-bending conclusion. Like THE SIXTH SENSE, SLEUTH, THE USUAL SUSPECTS, and THE OTHERS, the film is playing a massive deception on the audience and the characters, engaing in a strange game that pays off in an incredibly satisfying (if devastating) way. Every time you think you know what kind of story you're watching, the movie starts veering in another direction, and only the finale finally makes the purpose of the plot clear. Director Roeg, a former cinematographer, crafts an eerie vision of Venice as damp, mouldy, and crumbling, and his visual compositions have a startling quality that adds to the bizarre and alienated moodof the film. Although few movies have directly copied the story of DON'T LOOK NOW, its directorial style has become the standard for such filmmakers as David Lynch, M. Night Shyamalan, and David Fincher. This is a landmark piece of work and worth viewing if you enjoy films full of mystery and intelligence (for example, the movies I listed above) and unusual visual style."
Mark D. Prouse | Riverdale (Bronx), NY | 07/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the creepiest films ever made. This one stays with you, and all of the participants are crucial to the film's effect, so it's not just the artful photography and editing. The beautiful Julie Christie, always a bit mysterious, has an amazing sex scene with Donald Sutherland (they play a husband and wife in this film), that is intercut with shots of the two getting dressed afterward. Erotica, not pornography, although it treads a thin line. Inspired from start to finish, Sutherland's slow motion fall from a scaffold is foreshadowed earlier by Christie's slow motion blackout at a restaurant table. There are many moments of cinemagraphic brilliance throughout, and Roeg's triumph here is how he manages to take a rather simple story and make it seem more complex and deep than it really is. Because the film is so visually stimulating, the shocking ending is not critical to its success; in other words, knowing what's going to happen doesn't matter, as it would if the rest of the movie weren't so stunning. This isn't just one of the best horror pictures ever, it's a very good movie, above categorization."
W. Carol | 06/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film, which features Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland at their most young and gorgeous, may be one of the scariest movies ever made.Based on a Daphne DuMaurier story, it concerns two grieving parents (Christie and Sutherland) who have lost their young daughter in a horrible drowning accident right on their opulent English estate. Mourning beyond reason, the shattered couple goes to Venice, where Sutherland repeatedly sees visions of his dead daughter, always just out of reach.Through disjointed stream-of-consciousness images, gorgeous views of Venice, lush colors, eerie people with second sight, and one of the most erotic love scenes on film, we feel this couple's anguish, fear and desperate love for one another. And we know, simply by feeling it, that there is great danger lurking just out of sight. But we don't know what it is.As the suspense builds unbearably, the viewer is mesmerized by the photography, the music, the beauty--and yes, the grief. And when the end comes...well, let's just say that you'll want to leave the lights on for many nights to come.An absolutely brilliant film."
Do Look Now
Dark Trippers | 03/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Don't Look Now, loosely based on a mediocre Daphne Du Maurier short story, is Nic Roeg's best film, and is packed with compelling paradoxes of time and space. This film has the simplest of plots but tampers with the `natural chronology of things', experimenting with flashbacks and indeed flashforwards. The viewer is taken from the present and plunged without warning into various sections of the story's time-scale. The audience must be constantly alerted to differentiate between dream sequences, reality, episodes from the past, events from the present and even premonitions of the future. This has a profoundly disquieting effect on us, and most of the film's power is derived from this. We are offered clues, associations, images and ambiguities, but never provided with answers. Don't Look Now is just that, an extremely entertaining puzzle.The Baxters of Roeg's film inhabit a dark, shadowy labyrinthine world of bridges and mirrors that could only be Venice. Architect Sutherland and wife Christie are on a working holiday recovering from the recent drowning of their little girl, and this setting perfectly mirrors their internal grief and their feelings of uncertainty and guilt. The fractured time sequence gives the film a coldness, helping with the atmosphere of marital chill.Some of my favourite moments committed to film are here: the chilling opening drowning sequence, the greatest love-making scene ever (in which the most believable coupling between actors without showing actual penetration, is inter-cut with their getting dressed for dinner) and the most deeply disturbing denouement that will ever disrupt your sleep pattern.All this, and Roeg's vivid stylistics, the superb use of dissolves (rarely used in commercial film) to give the proceedings a nightmarish quality, wonderfully tonal mood-lighting, blood symbolism (little girl in the red rain-coat...spilt red wine on slide projectors...clothes on washing-lines reflected in canal water...)A dark tale of madness, magic and murderous intent, the blurring of reality and illusion, of drowned children and homicidal dwarfs; brought to life by truly great film-making, editing and the best performances of their careers from Sutherland and Christie.Roeg's rogue genius has never been bettered."
Blind Venetian Channels............
Dark Trippers | 01/31/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The senseless and [accidental?] death of a child. Guilt?
Dim, underlit streets and waterways of Venice. Visions of a small child wearing a hooded red raincoat....... Steamy sex.....A serial killer........A blind psychic.....warnings....and a very sharp straight razor, or two.....and lover's do learn.....A deliciously dark and brooding concept by auteur Nicholas Roeg ["Bad Timing"]of Daphne Du Maurier's vision of grieving parents Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, recovering in Venice after the death of their only daughter. AND this movie has one of the best love-scenes ever recorded on film - excellent - not gratuitous or offensive. VENICE, though, is the Star of this work. Forget any Summer Holiday memories you might still have of this wonderous dreamcity, she really comes to life during the winter! To say more about the plot would be to betray the work, but if you like experiences along the lines of "The Innocents", perhaps even the original "Haunting" - see this one. "Don't Look Now" is kind of the flip-side of Kate Hepburn's "Sunmmertime", even "Lover's Must Learn". It's an odd kaleidoscopic view of the city and its post midnight pulse - but be warned - stay in your hotel room - don't venture out on your own, especially after dark...........those Venetian walkways are still so dimly lit, never quite know what you might find in a doorway, or in the canals for that matter].A companion-piece? The later "Comfort of Strangers" - equally disturbing, but a great double-bill!"