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Brian De Palma
Robert De Niro,
The Staten Island apartment of lovely model Danielle becomes the scene of a grisly murder that is witnessed by her neighbor, Grace, a reporter. But the police don't believe her story, so it's up to Grace to solve the murder mystery on her own. Written by
Margot Kidder and Jennifer Salt were roommates in Southern California in the early 1970s while they were struggling performers. They held parties for their friends and neighbors who included Paul Schrader, Blythe Danner, Bruce Paltrow and Brian De Palma. One year at Christmas, Kidder and Salt opened separate boxes under their Christmas tree and each one contained the script to this film. This project was De Palma's gift to them. See more »
After Grace leaves her mother and gets into the phone booth to call a newspaper office, a cameraman and a moving camera are reflected in the shiny part of the phone, and the glass door of the booth. See more »
Sisters is directed by Brain De Palma who also co-writes the screenplay with Louisa Rose. It stars Margot Kidder, Jennifer Salt, Charles Durning, Lisle Wilson and William Finley. Music is by Bernard Herrmann and cinematography by Gregory Sandor.
When newspaper reporter Grace Collier (Salt) observes what she perceives to be a murder in the apartment across the street from her own, it proves to be the catalyst for a trip down a dark psychologically damaged street.
To be honest here, the continuous complaints about De Palma being a Hitchcock clone got boring around about the mid eighties. As Hitch is my personal favourite director it has never bothered me one bit that he homaged and borrowed from the great man's cannon, in fact I have always found that when on form it was great to have someone like De Palma to keep the suspense thriller genre going. It's not as if he's the only one who owes his career to director's from the past really is it?
Sisters is a wonderfully trippy suspenser, where De Palma lifts from some great Hitchcock motifs to portray a clinically edgy story based around an article he read about Siamese twins Masha and Dasha Krivoshlyapova. Infused with technical flourishes such as split screens, POV filming and close quarter framing, the director is donating his own blood for the veins of the piece. Suspense is rarely far away, be it characters in some sort of danger, or the possible discovery of a body, there is no pause for pointless filler fodder. While twists and revelations engage the brain instead of insulting it, something many of today's horror/thriller directors could learn to "homage" from actually, and a nightmare section of film literally unfurled out of the minds eye is top draw.
Herrmann was enticed out of near retirement to score the music, the genre and themes at work in the story ready made for his skilled compositions. The score in all essence is lifted from his own major works for Hitchcock, with added sections taken from Jason and the Argonauts and Mysterious Island, but reworked in such away it drifts a perfectly off-kilter vibe across production. Kidder and Salt do great work in tricky roles, and Finley is suitably edgy. Durning is a little wasted, though, but it's a small complaint in the acting area. There's a couple of plot holes and one turn of events that just doesn't make sense, but this is a prime De Palma thriller and a good starting point for anyone interested in his work. And yes! For anyone who really isn't bothered about someone homaging a past master. 8/10
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