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Tag: Chiara Caselli

Sleepless

by on Sep.30, 2010, under Daily Review

Argento’s return to form some might say. It was hyped at the time and I actually remember enjoying this one when it came out, straight to DVD. I’d built it up to a godlike level but forgave it for a lot of what it isn’t or couldn’t live up to. This time around, I’m watching with fresh eyes and less expectation; also directly on the back of Phenomena, how will it sit?

The plot is a complex giallo murder crime flick. A retired officer (Max Von Sydow) is pulled back into a re-opened case which he worked on some years earlier. A dwarf crime novelist, who was the main suspect, committed suicide, leaving the case at a loose end. But someone is back, using the dwarf’s literature as an MO, slashing up girls in a gruesome style.

The film is a kinda homage to all that’s gone before. Argento has cherry picked his way back into the genre by recreating some wonderful set sequences, which are all very familiar and a real joy to watch. The plot is crazy and swings all over the place, but irons out perfectly. Gore is top form here too with Sergi Stivaletti in the hot seat creating some amazing effects and some vicious nasty stuff.

Argento has collected the best of his past and the best he could recruit too. Von Sydow brings credence to the film, Goblin reformed especially for this and knock out a stunning fresh new score. Franco Ferrini script and Ron Taylor on DP. A perfect team by anyone’s standards.

That window is back again! The first murder, a brilliantly played out scene with a girl (Barbara Lerci) stalked on a train. Great pace and a great sequence of events which truly captivate the viewer. At her demise, I was actually awaiting the head to crack through the train window, but this time, a bit subtler as she is left, screaming and dragging her bloody hands down the glass as the train pulls into the station, her friend awaiting on the platform. Stunning stuff.

One further point, Argento seems deeply rooted with the idea of trauma generated at childhood, a haunting which emanates to a point of character decline to a downward spiral of violence. This theme is repeated through many of his films and at play here. Finally, a quick word about his use of colour. As I’ve mentioned, we’re getting a lot of his past through reflection which couldn’t be created without some blue, red and green gels. The disco scene is beautifully lit, a celebration in itself. Likewise, rooms are pained in contrasting reds and blues, a subtle yet distinctive sign of his move back to grace.

Give this one the opportunity it deserves. It’s a stepping stone to what could be a welcome return, and also a tip of the hat to previous accomplishments, and also very enjoyable.

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