Don't Look Now
Don't Look Now wasn't a box office success in 1973
but it won some awards and was generally recognized as a capable
movie. It isn't. The cinematography is brilliant, and the acting is
very good from the leads, albeit not so good from the supporting
players, but the plot is just awful and the pacing is glacial.
Some day, the limits of
human endurance will be tested by seeing if anyone can stay awake during
a Nick Roeg film festival. Roeg, the director of Don't Look Now,
was once a great cinematographer, so his directorial efforts are always
beautifully composed and photographed. Unfortunately, there is more to
the moving picture industry than moving pictures. The man has no idea how to
put those images together without creating a snoozefest. The final
edits always include several scenes which do nothing to advance the plot
and could easily have been cut. The scenes that should be in the films
go on way too long, thus sapping the dramatic tension out of every
situation. Sometimes, two scenes are intercut for no apparent purpose,
instead of just letting them play out logically and separately.
could take the footage in Don't Look Now and create a solid one-hour
episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Unfortunately, Roeg took that
hour's worth of entertainment and stretched it out over a much longer
time. I fell asleep twice during this film, and I wasn't tired. It is
two hours of complete boredom, with scene after scene outlasting its
welcome. It's a slow starter which slows down in the middle, then slows
down even more at the end. I think it was actually going in reverse at
one point. I held on just because I wanted to see the "mystery"
And worse than that ...
It turns out that the explanation is absolutely ludicrous.
Throughout the film Donald Sutherland thought that he was experiencing
second sight when he saw a vision of his dead daughter running around Venice.
This was a fairly logical assumption, since:
- He seems to have experienced a legitimate case of
second sight in a different instance.
- An old lady in town claimed to have
"the gift," and to feel the presence of the girl.
- The apparition was dressed exactly
as his daughter was dressed when she drowned - in a shiny red
It was not his daughter. You know what the explanation really was?
There was a serial killer wondering around Venice, skulking in and out of the
shadows, and that is whom Sutherland mistook for the ghost of his daughter. How
could that be?
The serial killer was an evil dwarf who looked exactly like a ten year old
Roger Ebert once said there
can be no good movie with a hot air balloon, and although I know what
he's driving at with that observation, one must offer The Wizard of Oz,
Andrei Rublev, and Around the World in
80 days as possible rebuttal evidence. On the other hand, there truly can be no
good movie with an evil dwarf. As you may know, evil dwarves are a
protected minority in Northern Europe, and certain quotas have to be
met in that region. The Universities at Heidelberg and St Petersburg lose all their government funding if
they do not admit at
least 4% evil dwarves to degree programs each year. Swedish and Russian
filmmakers must also comply with these quotas. But it never works in
movies. A comic dwarf, or good dwarves? No problem. There's The Wizard of Oz, Foul
Play, The Spy Who Shagged Me, and others to make a case for them.
But an evil dwarf? Bad Swedish melodrama and the
premise for The Wild Wild West.
homicidal dwarf in this film might not have been quite so ridiculous
if he had not been skulking around Venice in a shiny red overcoat. I
know that I'm neither short enough nor evil enough to think like an
evil dwarf, but if I were an evil serial-killing dwarf, I'd try to
dress a little bit less conspicuously.
With the slow pacing, the heavy-handed
aquatic symbolism, and the dreaded evil dwarf, Nick Roeg seems to have
had an urge to copy the great Northern European filmmakers, notably Tarkovsky
and Bergman. What it really boils down to, however, is that you watch this it
for a couple of hours fighting to stay awake because you have to know the
explanation, and when you finally see the explanation you laugh out loud, then
feel like throwing something at the TV.
The nudity in the film, however, is legendary. The spectacularly
beautiful Julie Christie took a bath, hung out naked in the bathroom
for a while, then engaged in about a 3.5-minute sex scene with
Donald Sutherland. Only Nic Roeg could make a naked Julie Christie
Here's the brightly lit bathroom scene in 1080p.
Here's the sex scene.
It's a massive download in 1080p - more than 400 meg.
Yesterday's main feature was episode two of the new UK series
woman in this 720p clip is Charlene McKenna. Sample below.