Saturday, June 21, 2008

Review: Don't Look Now

(Sorry about the lateness of this entry--been too tired to write lately. I'm thinking about taking multi-vitamins.)

There was a time in my life--a happier time--when I could say I have never seen a film that could be summarized with the words, "Donald Sutherland wanders around Venice for two hours, then gets stabbed by a midget." But unfortunately, that's no longer the case. Because I have seen 'Don't Look Now'. This unintentionally-aptly-titled 1973 thriller is legendary for its infamous "shock" ending, which made #22 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Moments In Film. After watching the film, I understand why the ending is so popular. After sitting through this movie, I was overjoyed to see any kind of an ending.

In all seriousness, the film is deadly dull. Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland play a couple whose youngest child has drowned, and their working vacation in Venice (he restores old cathedrals) is filled with...well, as I say, endless sequences of them wandering through the streets, and loud, ominous music that continually seems out of place in its efforts to convince the audience that something is happening when it isn't. Christie meets two elderly British women, one of whom claims to be psychic, and the movie tries to squeeze a little mileage out of that, but as with all of the subplots, it never really seems to get going. Every so often, someone mentions something about "murders", but the director never lets any of that get in the way of endless shots of people wandering around the Venetian scenery.

And then, in the end, Donald Sutherland gets stabbed by a killer midget that he thinks is his daughter. No explanation, no set-up (because really, how do you set up "killer midget"?) I'd say I was sorry for spoiling the movie by telling you that, but really, if you read this review and wind up not wanting to see this film, I've done you a favor. (Oh, by the same note, the cancer patient did it in 'Saw' and he's pretending to be the corpse on the floor.) Then, as he lies dying, we get a quick montage of every scene in the entire movie, just to complete the illusion that we're trapped in a never-ending hell of dull, pointless sequences of awkward, stilted dialog and random musical cues.

I realize that very few of my readers were clamoring to see 'Don't Look Now'. Most of you have never even heard of it. But if I've saved even one person from wasting 110 minutes of their life watching this testament to cinematic immobility, my time on this earth shall not have been in vain.


Kate Holden said...

Thanks for the heads-up! Knowing is half the battle!

Austin Gorton said...

I actually watched this movie in one of my high school film classes. At the end, the entire class, cumulatively and loudly, went "WTF?!?"

I don't even think our teacher knew why she had us watch it...