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Jackson Cook
Jackson Cook

Don't Look Now(1973)

I just thought that it was a beautifully shot, really adult look at real-life horror stories, and there was a great degree of sexuality in it that, as a young kid, when I saw it, I remember I was very startled by. It felt very brave to me, and I think it still holds up. Nick Roeg is a brilliant director.

Don't Look Now(1973)


I don't think I've had an opinion of a film change so fast. Truly, as Don't Look Now had its end credits rolling, I was unsettled beyond belief. Eyes darting, hearing every sound, seeing every shadow, sensing every presence; The only cure for how freaking scared I was as a result of the film was sleep.

I can't get a grip on why this has never worked for me. Perhaps its phantasmagoria is too grounded, too rooted in a very pragmatic British skepticism. Even given all the curlicue editing and repeated motifs, I don't think it ever truly succumbs to irrationality. Its final twist never seems unexpected or out-of-balance to me. I keep wanting it to go truly over the edge. It's all my problem, apparently.

The moments leading up to the tragedy are idyllic. Christine and her brother Johnny (Nicholas Salter) play outside with not a care in the world. John and Laura work in the house, displaying that quiet, easy familiarity that can only be achieved by love, time, and intimacy. Laura searches through books to find an answer to a question her daughter asked her: if the earth is round, then why are lakes flat? John looks through slides of his next restoration project. All is right in the world, if a bit rainy.

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The psychic message gives Laura a renewed vigour something that even John can appreciate. As bodies begin to pile up from a serial killer stalking the streets John begins to see a small figure wearing a red jacket that looks eerily similar to his dead daughter running down alleys.

Roeg had plugged-in instincts, atavistic reflexes, and a flair for the visually outré. He translated the whole imploding, exhausted sex-and-drugs-rock-and-role-playing aspect of Swinging London into a pictorial language of splintered cuts, cavernous mossy spaces, and a wraparound immersion that made it feel like you were inside of a bloodshot fish-eye lens looking out. With a genius for pastiche and designer alienation, he impudently raided the closets of Alain Resnais, Godard, Antonioni, and Marco Bellocchio to assemble his anxious, indolent, sexy-paranoid style. This was what the hero of Blow-Up would have gotten up to if he had dropped acid with the Rolling Stones and become a movie director. 041b061a72


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