Jake Scully comes home to find his girlfriend with another man and has to find a new place. In between his acting workshops and his job in a vampire B-movie, he scans the paper looking for anything. He happens to meet Sam Bouchard, a fellow actor who needs a house sitter. Both are pleased with the arrangement that will have Jake staying in the house and for a sweetener, Sam shows him his favorite neighbor, a well-built woman who strips with her window open each night. Jake becomes obsessed with meeting her and is able to help recover her purse from a thief, but shows his own phobia, he is incapacitated by claustrophobia when the thief runs through a tunnel. When Jake witnesses a murder, he finds out that the police love to pin crimes on peeping Toms. Jake discovers that here are just too many coincidences but must hunt them down himself without the police. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The name of the adult movie that Holly Body (Melanie Griffith) had starred in that Jake Scully (Craig Wasson) had seen was "Holly Does Hollywood". The name of the low-budget horror film that Scully was appearing in was "Vampire's Kiss". In real life, a film with that title, Vampire's Kiss (1988) starring Nicolas Cage, was made and released about four years after Body Double (1984). See more »
When Sam and Jake are in the "acting Class" Sam stands up to stop the "teacher" from picking on Jake. Sam picks up his gear bag and they go towards the door, but a few seconds before, the row of chairs that are in front of Sam didn't have anything on them. See more »
I do not do animal acts. I do not do S&M or any variations of that particular bent, no water sports either. I will not shave my pussy, no fistfucking and absolutely no coming in my face. I get $2000 a day and I do not work without a contract.
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I admit when I rented this movie, I did so just to get some cheap thrills. I was aware of the negative reviews from uptight critics who dismissed it as sleaze, and to be honest, that's what I was in the mood for. Besides, my curiosity was aroused. (No cheap jokes, please!)
To my surprise, this is actually a compelling, well-crafted thriller. Let me take it a step further. It's an improvement over DePalma's effective but overpraised "Dressed to Kill." "Body Double" is actually better-constructed and better-paced. Perhaps the extremes of the film's content turned off some members of the critical community. And keep in mind that many of these people loved Dressed.
However, if you can stomach some of the content (it would certainly warrant an NC-17 in today's climate), there's much to like here. DePalma's approach might be manipulative, but when he does so this effectively, it's hard to complain. Technically, it's a marvel of film technique. Wasson's claustrophobic attacks are effectively conveyed to the viewer. When they hit him, they hit us just as hard. The very ending, which I wouldn't dream of giving away, is a work of pure genius. The infamous drill murder is a terrific setpiece.
One aspect that interested me was its attitude towards porno. So-called "dirty movies" are not condemned, but treated as simply being another side of the film industry. It's not considered right or wrong; it's just there. Such a nonjudgmental outlook is refreshing after hearing the tiresome rants of self-appointed "moral watchdogs." Likewise, there is a loving tribute to B-movies during the opening and closing credits.
"Body Double" isn't good art by any means, but it's good trash. Watch it, and you will behold DePalma at his sleazy best. He makes no apologies for what he does, nor would we want him to do so.
***1/2 (out of ****)
Released by Columbia Pictures
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