10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
brilliant book on Argento,
This review is from: Art of Darkness: The Cinema of Dario Argento (Hardcover)
Ignore the three star review on this website. This book is not one dimensional. It takes a variety of critical approaches to understand the complex style and themes of Argento's work. Some of the approaches include the cinema of eye violation (building on ideas from Surrealism and Peeping Tom), Gothic film and literature (the best section, which generates some fascinating ideas on Argento's enigmatic INFERNO), the cinema of painting (ie in moments of stasis images draw attention to themselves to reveal a layer of truth regarding the image), gender structures and their relation to the Gothic, and a look at how the work of Poe helps us generate meaning from Argento's film texts.
These essays generate some fascinating in depth ideas and arguements regarding Argento's work. Also, there are a collection of essays from different writers (all with different ideas and approaches)on every individual Argento film. Some of these, on SUSPIRIA, INFERNO, DEEP RED, OPERA and BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE are excellent. Others are more uninspired, like Kim Newman's take on FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET, and the essays on PHENOMENA and FIVE DAYS IN MILAN. Also, some of the bad Argento films are unfairly highly rated (TRAUMA).
But overall, this is the best book on films I've read. Most of it is written with passion and intelligence, and a great deal of imagination. For people that can't understand this book, or those who complain that it's academic, you're missing the point. If you want to read some fanboy reviews, read FANGORIA; if you want 5 star reviews and lots of adjectives, read Empire. This isn't a consumer book, it's an intelligent book. It's an example of serious, intellectual criticism. If you're not intelligent enough to read it, don't buy it. Get back to Empire, Hot Dog, etc.