Don’t Look Now (1973)

Part horror movie, part serious drama, “Don’t Look Now” is certainly not everybody’s cup of tea and is likely to bore genre fans to tears, but fans of serious cinema and contemplative narratives will find plenty to appreciate. There’s an eerie surreality to the proceedings that recalls David Lynch (even though “Don’t Look Now” precedes Lynchian cinema) as we accompany Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland as they temporarily relocate to Venice, Italy to process their grief over the death of their young daughter. That grief seems to take on manifestations in the city itself as though their mourning becomes a supernatural entity, while Christie begins a spiritual odyssey of sorts with a pair of sisters who claim to be in touch with the preternatural. It’s the type of deliberately paced narrative that’s intercut with heavy symbolism and foreshadowing that points to the movie’s notoriously shocking ending without forecasting it, and the occasionally visceral violence that peppers the plot is made all the more startling by the otherwise languid pace. Christie and Sutherland are entirely believable in every scene, one of the few married couples that have palpable onscreen chemistry (including a revealing and intimate sex scene that thrillingly borders on voyeuristic), while Hilary Mason shines in a meaty supporting role as one of the sisters: She’s magnetic in the role, capable of suggesting motherly warmth and sinister intentions often in the same breadth, keeping you on your toes for the duration of the movie. “Don’t Look Now” may need two viewings to really catch on strong it is, and like other Lynchian cinema, it gains significance on second viewing.

Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)

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