Tag: Hilary Mason

Don’t Look Now

by on Oct.23, 2010, under Daily Review

There’s nothing else quite like ‘Don’t Look Now,’ although after watching this again, (The last time I saw this was some ten years ago) I actually now have Antichrist in my mind. Are the Baxters’ actually in Venice, or is this a maze of madness within John’s mind?

The underrated director Nicholas Roeg directs this masterpiece from 1973, a tale based on a short by Daphne Du Maurier surrounding parents, John and Laura (Donald Sutherland & Julie Christie) whose young daughter drowns in a freak accident in their garden lake. Consoling each other, and some time later, they are working in Venice when Laura is approached by a strange blind psychic and her sister who mentions that Chistine, their daughter is happy. From this point, Laura becomes at peace with their loss, but seems to have a disturbing effect on John who begins seeing his daughter, wearing her red rain coat, running through the passageways of Venice. Meanwhile, the local Police are in search of a serial killer.

The film, visually is spectacular, glorious making Venice look stunning, whilst doing a tremendous job of keeping away from all the major landmarks. We have a beautiful style of shooting related situations, intercut cleverly as if the mind is chopping between thoughts. The reoccurring flashes of red is a theme, reminding us constantly of the drowned daughter, from red bobble hats, a coat on a clothes line and even a lit candle. We also get scenes which seem to represent a vision of the future, just to confuse the matter and a linking of several of the key characters. The red coat, the priest, the blind woman, Laura and John all seem to have a connection. One seen has them waking up, all over the city, effected by a single action.

I’d recommend a second viewing of this one as there is so much going on, I’ve been playing it over in my mind all day, looking for answers as to what else is buried in the plot, are they in Venice, did the daughter really exist, is John actually alive? All could be nonsense, but Lynchian in approach, dreamlike and deep.

Now, let me just mention, probably one of the most talked about scenes in this film, the love making scene between John and Laura. Never has there been a moment captured on film which is graphic, real and believable, but captures true love, loss and despair. A true collective of a union, embroiled in the emotion of desire and loss of their daughter. It’s a beautiful scene and a real high point with Roeg capturing real solid emotion which swings from either end of the happy, sad spectrum capturing everything in between. Amazing.

I really love this film. I love the script, the crazy characters, the emotion and power and stunning performance from Sutherland and Christie. The lighting, direction and camerawork. I love Venice an awful lot, and this film makes me long for a weekend in the misty damp canals.

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