Nicolas Roeg's chilling film, based on a short story by Daphne du Maurier, follows a married couple as they attempt to recover from the death of their young daughter. John Baxter (Donald Sutherland) and his wife, Laura (Julie Christie), are staying in Venice in an attempt to find relief after the drowning of their daughter, Christine (Sharon Williams), in a tragic accident. However, the city appears to have an unfortunate effect upon the grieving John, who begins seeing a red-coated figure who resembles the dead child flitting around the local canals. The couple also happen across a pair of sisters who claim to have had visions of their daughter. According to the sisters, the child has been trying to contact John in an attempt to warn him that something terrible is about to happen...
Based on the Daphne du Maurier short story, Nicholas Roeg's dazzling, perplexing, psychological horror film uses every trick in the book to convey a sense of dread; a foreboding of tragedy. It is peppered throughout with images of shattered glass, still water & the colour red but it is often remembered for two key scenes: it's stunning & shocking final act, which I won't spoil for those who have yet to see it; and the sex scene that occurs about mid-way through. This scene is important in establishing the love that still exists between the couple who have recently endured the traumatic loss of their young daughter & it is as tender as it is passionate. Donald Sutherland & Julie Christie play the couple & they are both excellent! Another key ingredient to the atmosphere & success of the film is its wintry Venice setting. Shadows seem to lurk around every corner & its ancient stone walls reverberate with strange cries. One thing is for certain: like it or not, this film will stay with you for a long time...
A criticism often levelled at releases of this film in the past has been its indistinct sound, Thankfully, for this Blu-ray release, that has been rectified & you can now enjoy it as it was always meant to be. Finally, as with most releases these days, there are a few extras which are worth watching but only after you've viewed the film. So, close the curtains, switch off the lights & watch one of the finest British films ever made.
I bought the film version of Don't Look Now a few days ago as I saw a stage version of it at Basingstoke a few years ago, and I absolutley enjoyed it. After reading some of the negative comments about the sound quality on this special edition DVD, I was a bit reluctant to purchase this. Well I decided to bite the bullet and buy a copy and to my surprise the soundtrack is very very good, considering it is a very old film. Either some of the copies of the DVD's were a bad batch or people were perhaps expecting too much from an old film such as this.
Anyway all that aside, this has to be one of the most chilling & facsinating thrillers of alltime. Don't expect a gorefest as it is not that sort of film, but for those who like good thrillers you won't be disappointed.
This is a review for the 2011 DVD edition, released under the series 'Vintage Classics'.
Sometimes, an impulse buy can be very rewarding, and I feel that with 'Don't Look Now' (1973), a cult psychological thriller, widely acclaimed as one of the greatest horror films ever made, or so says the DVD's back cover, but I confess, although a keen movie buff, I hadn't heard of it.
Before I move onto the movie itself, I must say that it has been digitally restored for this release, and it looks and sounds fantastic. The extras on the DVD include a compressed version of the film, made by the great Danny Boyle for a BAFTA tribute, as well as recent interviews with Boyle, the movie's screenwriter/producer Allan Scott, and lead actor Donald Sutherland.
In what are first-rate performances, the lovely Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland star as a married couple, grieving after the tragic death of their young daughter's accidental drowning. They travel to the beautiful location (especially to the viewer) of Venice to try and tame their trauma, where the young British couple encounter a pair of old sisters (played by Hilary Mason and Clelia Matania), one of whom is blind and psychic, insisting that they can get in touch with their late daughter, and warns them of danger from beyond.
'Don't Look Now' managed to get under my skin from the very beginning, but it isn't the 'horror' flick I expected it to be, which is no bad thing either. There isn't much in the way to make you feel really petrified, but more, it manages to build up a nightmare like tension through the excellent, mysterious atmosphere, and beautiful presentation. It's very chilling, mind-bending, but not 'very scary' in an obvious way.
This was one of those clever movies that had me thinking, guessing, and feeling dread until the very end, with it's excellent use of effective flashback scenes. 'Don't Look Now' is a must-watch for any real fans of horror, suspense or mystery. Well done to director Nicholas Roeg, they don't make them like this anymore folks.