3 items from 2015
“Voyeurs And Victims”
Just when everyone thought director Brian De Palma’s work couldn’t get more controversial than 1983’s Scarface, out came 1984’s Body Double, which was simultaneously praised and reviled. Just as they had with 1980’s Dressed to Kill, feminist groups protested Double with even more vitriol due to the picture’s perceived violence against women. Many critics and audiences dismissed the movie as merely a small step above porn, given the fact that much of the plot does deal with Hollywood’s “other industry” that was soaring to new heights in the mid-80s thanks to the rise of home video and VHS. And yet, Body Double is now a certified cult classic, a De Palma fan favorite, and, frankly, in this reviewer’s opinion, one of his most accomplished and stylish efforts.
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
Brian De Palma has become the directorial litmus test of cinephiles everywhere. To supporters, he stands as a startling visual genius with a penchant for set pieces and lurid subject matter. To naysayers, he remains a lowbrow imitator who spends his studio budgets chasing the ghosts of Alfred Hitchcock and Jean-Luc Godard. Great director or high class hack? Inconsistent misogynist or Master of the Macabre? Much like his fractured narratives, the answer is never an easy one to attain.
Both sides provide ample support for their case. De Palma’s resume is riddled with enough hollow imitations (Sisters , Raising Cain ) and bloated commercial flops (The Bonfire of the Vanities , The Black Dahlia ) to sink any director. But even in misfires such as these, an undeniable attention to detail remains.
The split screen cover-up of Sisters or the heartbreaking screen tests of The Black Dahlia are breathtaking in scope and execution, »
- Danilo Castro
“Logic” is a word that Brian De Palma uses a lot. It turns out that many of his most notorious scenes weren’t conceived for effect, but as a result of problem solving. The almost comically overblown shootout that closes “Scarface” came about because Al Pacino had injured his hand, so De Palma had to keep filming his assembled gunmen for two weeks while awaiting his star’s return. The great length of drill that kills Deborah Shelton in “Body Double” – its preposterous size adding to the furor from women’s groups – was simply because it needed to be long enough to pass through its victim, her floor and the hero’s ceiling. These observations are made by the director himself in this utterly engrossing documentary by Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow. And they’re pertinent to so much about him – the controversy that has peppered his career and his »
- Demetrios Matheou
3 items from 2015
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