Don't Look Now (1973) Poster

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10/10
Shocking Red December
primodanielelori13 October 2007
The Italian title of this Nicolas Roeg's classic is "A Venetian Shocking Red December" yep. I had seen this film dubbed into Italian, years ago. I was taken by the look and the atmosphere I remember being unnerved but I was appalled by the acting, specially Julie Christie's - one of my favorites of all time. Yesterday I saw the film again in its original English version. My goodness, what a difference! The film is even more frightening that I remembered. The atmosphere is asphyxiating. You can actually smell the rotting stench of the most beautiful city in the world. The ending leaves you breathless and the acting, well, listening to the actors real voices is another experience altogether. The pain and sudden burst of hope in Julie Christie is moving, very moving and very unsettling. Sutherland, as usual, is magnificent. The film, other than a solid cult status, remains virtually unknown by the public at large. "Don't Look Now" is a buried treasure that is bound to be re discovered and to all my countrymen, a piece of advise: avoid dubbed movies at all cost.
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10/10
A Venice Of Horrors
mrharrypaulson4 May 2017
When a great artist, and a great artist is what Nicolas Roeg is, tells us a tale of horrors, the results are, usually, unique, overwhelming, unforgettable. "Don't Look Now" redefines the genre. I was paralyzed by fear and totally involved in the bizarre predicament of the protagonists. Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie are remarkable. A married couple enveloped in the unspeakable sadness provoked by the loss of their young daughter. Then, in Venice, among the rot, the beauty and the darkness, a ray of light. But this is not the kind of light that lets you see, no, this light is terrifying because it will persuade you to follow it. I've seen the film 9 hours ago and it's still with me...I can smell the stench of the most beautiful city in the world and I close my eyes, hoping that it's just a dream. "Don't Look Now" is a masterpiece.
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10/10
Fear, as an art form.
mocpacific1 September 2005
I was afraid to swallow, to make any noise. The unspeakable was all around me and I lived it up to the fullest. Nicolas Roeg plays with our instincts, with our inner voices and challenge us to take notice. Just like Donald Sutherland's character. He knows, even if his brain tells him not to be stupid. To believe is to commit intellectual suicide. Better not to look, not to listen. Sutherland and Christie are one of the most convincing modern artistic yet normal married couples in their pain in their every daily detail. Sutherland goes along with Christie's "nonsense" because he sees what the nonsense does for her. They make love for the first time since their daughter's death in a way we've never seen before on the screen and, probably, never will again. Based on a Daphne Du Maurier's book, Nicolas Roeg has orchestrated a chilling work of art. For film lovers all over the world, if you haven't seen it, do, preferably in the dark with someone you know and love.
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9/10
Chilling and mysterious
Paul4 January 2005
There are two types of horror films, really. There are popcorn horror films, good for a cheap in-the-moment thrill at best, and there are serious horror films, movies that linger in the mind and in the bones. I have just watched Nicolas Roeg's 'Don't Look Now' and my spine is frozen. It's 4am, I'm alone, and I have a heightened awareness of sounds and sights I usually don't notice.

Here is a movie that's both resolved and unresolved, ultimately growing more ambiguous as it progresses and becomes more complex. After it is over and has become a complete(d) work to the eye of the viewer, the lasting impression is that of mystery. Too many films in this genre bark up the wrong tree, working to explain all of the events that unfold. By explaining nothing, by being almost abstract, questions and images will haunt the viewer indefinitely. It is what it is, and while this movie can be watched over and over, and the events that occur can be anticipated, they will forever remain an enigma. This is true cinema, purely visual and aural, without the helpful but ultimately self-defeating aid of a proxy observer; the viewer is the direct observer, and there's no filter through which the events and images develop any sort of tidy rationality.

Donald Sutherland's performance here is sober, adult, the grief of his character palpable. And in the face of this grief is a force that runs through the movie like a dark current, evoking the eternal and spookily ethereal and subterranean; less an eternity of the heavens than the eternity of a crypt. Venice is not merely the ideal location for this story, but the necessary location; it could not take place anywhere else. The unquestionable, and indeed imposing, Gothic majesty of the churches, whose interior height dwarfs their human occupants with the spiritual dread of the ancient, overlooks the canals of Venice like the wicked-faced stone gargoyles Sutherland finds himself physically embracing, while the canals that run through the city are literally the ghost of this couple's personal tragedy. Living in Venice, in light of the details surrounding their loss, seems almost a perverse choice, perhaps a masochistic one; they could be punishing themselves for their daughter's drowning by living in a flooded city.

It's not that Sutherland's character is a rational man in an irrational environment, but rather a rational man in an environment whose own secret code, which one may trust makes perfect sense to itself (like a tree in the forest that will only fall if no one is around to hear), is inaccessible and inexplicable to him, baring itself only in fragments in a way he chooses to ignore, just as you might ignore a spectral voice in the dead of night, dismissing it as a product of your imagination.

The movie's notorious love scene is jarringly explicit, yet rather than erotic, it is profoundly sad, and takes on a deeper (even creepy) resonance after the film ends. That the scene is intercut with scenes of Sutherland and Julie Christie dressing prevents the two from ever being completely naked and united; this editing choice changes the dimensions of the love scene in a way that I've never seen attempted elsewhere. At other points, Roeg inserts moments and images that carry sinister implications, none of which are ever concretely substantiated and only leave the viewer with more questions.

The film drifts along at a wandering pace. The final twenty minutes are among the most atmospheric and suspenseful twenty minutes in any film, culminating in a montage that is absolutely chilling.

'The Blair Witch Project,' made over two decades later and probably influenced by this, has similar aspirations, but finally has only a fraction of the emotional gravity.
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10/10
The zenith of movie-making
LukeS17 December 1998
People want and expect different things from movies. What engages and captivates one person can just as easily displease and repulse another (see Titanic). Sometimes, a film simply doesn't register beyond the viewer's walk/drive home (this criminal offense is not exclusively a phenomenon of the 1990s in spite of the last decade's distinct dearth of memorable films). Don't Look Now, however, is a film which cannot fail to last long in the mind.

It is easy to love the film for its rare depth of character, its beautiful yet disturbing plot, the stunning Venice setting, the tender and original love scene or just for Donald Sutherland's never-rivalled wig! I am sure, however, that people find it easy to fault the film because it doesn't neatly tie up loose ends, because it is dark and depressing (the film's extensive reach encompasses death, loss, murder, blindness, religion and dwarfism) and because film-making conventions are abandoned.

The source material of Du Maurier's short story provides only a meagre framework onto which screenwriters Scott and Bryant have fleshed a stunning adaptation. Roeg's visual and emotional style of directing has never been so perfectly showcased as in Don't Look Now. How many more times can film-makers and advertisers steal (or "pay homage to") Roeg's ingenious work? Julie Christie is luminous and pulls the viewer with her through Laura's painful journey after the film's shocking opening. Sutherland's performance is stellar as well. His character, John, is like a Hitchcockian fall-guy with real personality and depth. You are swept along through the canals and narrow avenues with him as Pino Donaggio's stirring music both chills and lulls.

Films made in the tone of Don't Look Now are so rare these days. I am not an old fuddy-duddy who complains that "they don't make 'em like they used to" but am simply a slightly disillusioned film fan who wishes there were just a few more film-makers willing to take chances and not follow the dull formulaic line. What was the last film that stayed with you long after you saw it? It always sounds like a cliche when some obsessed fan tells you a film haunted them for days but Don't Look Now has a curious effect on the viewer. Its intensity grows. Different parts of the film mull around in your mind. You don't think about individual 'scenes' from the film either, you think about the situations, the people, the feelings. All of which is testament to the roundly drawn characterisation and elegant (yet not contrived) structure of the film.

If you haven't seen Don't Look Now before then you have a treat awaiting you. If you have seen it - see it again and marvel at a profound, eery, haunting, moving and beautiful film. If it disappoints you that films of such indelible and recurring substance like this are thin on the ground (Apocalypse Now, Taxi Driver and The Conversation had similar effects on me) then do not hesitate to picket the next showing of....(OUT OF RESPECT TO IMDB'S CONTENT GUIDELINES I WON'T NAME TITLE OF MORONIC HOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTERS AND THE LIKE)!
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9/10
A bizarre and brilliant ride
jtindahouse10 May 2017
I love it when you come across a film in which you can tell the director is in complete control. Directors like Stanley Kubrick, Brian De Palma and Nicolas Roeg are some of the first that come to mind. It seems that so much thought goes into every scene, yet the thinking isn't always lateral. They have an ability to make what would otherwise be a completely ordinary scene, something utterly unique and thought-provoking. The end product is almost always a delight to watch and what Roeg has produced here with 'Don't Look Now' is no exception.

There's quite a bizarre feel watching this film. From the rather odd characters (not just the small parts either, but the lead roles as well), the Italian language that is rarely explained to us what is actually being said, and an odd story that isn't entirely clear where it is going. If handled wrongly, all this could equal an absolute mess of a film. However in the case of 'Don't Look Now', Roeg keeps us convinced that he has some tricks up his sleeve, and this makes for a very fun viewing experience trying to work out where exactly this is all headed.

Where it is headed is to a quite brilliant ending. I'll admit I had to go back and watch the ending again to make sure I fully understood what I had just witnessed. This only confirmed to me though that it was indeed an ingenious way to finish the film. This is the type of movie that either demands you go back and watch it again, or else leaves you thinking about it for days to come.

'Don't Look Now' may not be for everyone. I imagine it to be quite a polarising film in that way. If you aren't enjoying it in the early stages, chances are you aren't really going to enjoy it at all. I can only assure you that it is worth persisting with and just excepting the oddness that will creep up at times. A really good film that deserves all the recognition it gets.
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One of the great mysteries. How was it forgotten?
Richard-823 December 1998
"Don't Look Now" was released at about the time of "The Excorcist". There is otherwise no basis for comparison between these movies. While the Excorcist hits us in the face with the equivalent of a special effects rubber chicken, "Don't Look Now" manages to get under your skin from the very first scene, and gradually, elegantly insinuates itself into a place where your childhood and adult fears dwell and steep. Its setting in Venice is both beautiful and menacing. Something terrible is always just around the corner from our conscious mind. It is also troubling, and, as only a good movie can, leaves more questions unanswered than resolved. Without a doubt, it contains one of the most beautiful loves scenes ever filmed, showing scenes of Christie and Sutherland in genuinely erotic (by '70's standards) lovemaking, mixed with scenes of the couple as they dress and prepare for their day, the following morning. Director Nicolas Roeg is a forgotten Master.
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10/10
A classic in every sense of the word.
Boba_Fett113818 January 2005
I think it is bad luck that "Don't Look Now" was released in the same year as "The Exorcist", or else this might be a better known and more appreciated one of a kind masterpiece.

"Don't Look Now" is an horror movie but not one like you would expect it to be. It isn't a movie that scares you with some scene's, it is a movie that gets into you and just won't let go and builds up a nightmare like tension. The atmosphere is fantastic and gives the movie a haunting feeling. Venice really works as the perfect backdrop for this movie. The best movie set in Venice ever? Even though there aren't any scary sequences in the movie, the ending is really horrifying, it really freaked me out the first time I saw it, I think 5 years ago. On my second viewing, not too long ago I was prepared for the ending but it still was a very scary thing to watch!

The storytelling might seem slow but it works perfect for the movie and its tension. There are some brilliant moments in the movie that all come together once the ending approaches. The editing and cinematography are perfect, as are the performances by the cast.

And what is a decent comment without mentioning the famous love scene? Ah yes, the love scene, it really is one of the best love scene's ever. It is brilliantly filmed and even more brilliantly edited. Quite Stylish, as is the entire movie.

This classic masterpiece certainly deserves more recognition!

10/10

http://bobafett1138.blogspot.com/
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Surreal and mind-bending
Danny_G1320 December 2003
Don't Look Now was clearly ahead of its time. In 1973, psychological movies such as this were either rare, or basic. Don't Look Now attempts to go where a lot of movies had never been, which was a realm where many things never truly make sense and yet behind it all is a coherent purpose.

First of it is *not* a candidate for greatest horror film ever, though the Times would have you believe otherwise. What it *is* though is a highly confusing yet thought-provoking story which covers grief and dillusion in equal measure.

Donald Sutherland plays John Baxter, who's married to Laura, who lose a child in an accident and find their worlds turned upside-down as a result. However, thereafter the story is set in Venice where John's working on a job and Laura's accompanied him there, and where things start to get disturbing for the couple as events begin to focus on their dead daughter and paranormal themes emerge.

It *is* a strange tale, and ultimately what you get out of it is entirely up to you. It is probably from this film that the likes of David Lynch started to derive inspiration.

Overall, good, if intrinsically confusing.
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