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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

One of Argentos Best

9/10
Author: spacemonkey_fg from Puerto Rico
10 June 2005

Title: Opera (1987) Director: Dario Argento Cast: Cristina Masillach, Ian Charleson, Urbano Barberini, Daria Nicolodi Review: The only other Argento movie I had seen was Suspiria and that one blew me away with its style, colors and spooky story line. I next decided to go with Opera as I had been told it was one of his best. Man, I think I'm discovering what will ultimately be one of my favorite horror directors.

Opera is about a young opera singer who gets her big break when the main star of a creepy modern opera take on Mc Beth gets hit by a car. Betty is the understudy so she gets to do the part herself. Too bad for her there's a psycho after her who makes her watch the brutal murders of her friends and co-workers.

Wow, Id heard good things about this here flick, but I wasn't prepared for the level of greatness to which this film would take me. Yeah the movie has its shortcomings to which Ill get to later. But for the most part the movie blew me away.

First off, this movie is not as filled with lots of colors as Suspiria. I was expecting it to be a bit like suspiria in that department, but no, to my surprise it had its own look and feel. The film is somehow devoid of color. It does have lots in colors in certain scenes (like the masterful kitchen/living room sequence) where Argento fills the screen with lush greens and blues, but for the most part the film has a grayish, black tone to it all through out and I liked that it had its own distinctive look.

The real stars of this show are the incredibly well orchestrated death sequences. Wow. Every death scene was like a work of art. Beauty in destruction. These are not just your typical hack and slash death sequences, these deaths were carefully constructed to shock and get the most out of its situations. Loved every second of them, there's plenty of blood and mayhem here, but with style. Not gonna spoil em though.

Then there's the direction. Man, there's some really original and beautiful shots on this one. I loved the inventive use of the camera on this one. You thought that Tarantinos shot in Kill Bill vol. 1 where we see the bullet coming out of the chamber of the gun was original? Well this is the movie he lifted it from! I honestly believe that Tarantino was heavily influenced by this specific movie with certain scenes in Kill Bill Vol. 1. Heck in the making of feature he mentions that the whole scene with Beatrix in the hospital and Elle Driver coming to kill her was influenced by Italian Giallos, and here my friends is the proof of that. Anyhows, Tarantino references aside, this movie has some amazing camera shots, like those scenes of the crows flying through the crowd in the opera house...great stuff. And a main reason why Argentos becoming one of my favorites.

The acting from most of the cast was alright, but the best by far was Cristina Marsillach as the tortured young opera singer Betty. The looks in her eyes as the murders were being committed were great. The rest of the cast was a little wooden and stiff, but nothing that would deter your enjoyment of the film.

There were very few things I didn't like about this movie. First off logic was thrown out the window in certain scenes. Specially those involving Bettys reactions after shes seen the murders. It seem to me that for the longest time, she just went on about her business, not telling anyone about the whole thing. Not even the police. I mean if you see someone brutally murder a loved one in front of your eyes...you don't just walk away from the murder scene and continue with your life. Someone would have connected her to the murders. She might have even become a suspect herself...but no. Also the ending is a bit anti climactic. You'll have to see this to understand, but it seemed a bit unnecessary the way the film ended, it felt like it could have ended earlier. It would not have felt so redundant. But thats about it, not real big problems for me really since I was enjoying the rest of this beautiful film.

I've still got a lot of Argento territory to cover...but I'm devouring every step of the way like if I was eating a plate of the most expensive caviar. This guys really good. I think of his films as works of art, and I've only seen two of em! Cant wait to discover the rest of his films. Argento, you the man!

Rating: 41/2 out of 5

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

I usually like Argento

Author: D A (beckhamgrafix@yahoo.com)
7 August 2002

Willing suspension of disbelief.

You've got to have that for a horror flick, but the characters in this flick have got to be the dumbest lot that Argento has created. After the first murder, the main actress calls the police but won't tell them anything about the murder. Then when a second character shows up, just driving around the city streets at night, she sits in his car, obviously distraught, but refuses to give any indication of what she has just been through.

The set piece where the killer is exposed is just as contrived, taking place in front of hundreds of people with no real indication that the killer would be at the scene.

Then there is the ending, totally out of joint with the rest of the film, where for a moment we get the hope of something original, ala the book version of Hannibal, but no, once again we are presented with brain numbing absurdity.

While the Anchor Bay DVD is beautiful, and we have a nice documentary about the making of the film, I think Argento says it best when he states that "After the movie he went to India for a while, because he thought he had made a bad movie." The documentary ends on that note, as does this review.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

From great suffering emerges a great film

9/10
Author: lizard-cole from New York, New York
15 March 2002

If you don't like Italian horror, you won't like this film. On that note...

"Overall... it was a terrible experience... Many things happened. Vanessa Redgrave was scheduled to be in the film, and she pulled out. One of the actors was crushed by a car. I was engaged to be married, but by the end of the picture that was finished. My father died during the shooting... all kinds of things." -Dario Argento on the making of "Opera"

I was truly impressed with Argento and the film he made here-- especially against such harrowing circumstances. The whole mystique of "Macbeth" and its curse on those who attempt to stage the play adds untold volumes to "Opera."

Throughout the film, Argento imploys some of his most clever (and audience directed) tricks. A young opera singer, Christina, is stalked by a violent psychopath who forces her to watch a series of brutal murders. By taping several sharp blades to Christina's eyelids the killer makes it impossible for her to close her eyes, "Take a good look. If you try to close your eyes, you'll tear them apart. So you'll just have to watch everything!"

It is clear that Argento put great care into constructing the faux "Macbeth" opera on-screen, and his hard work pays off. Add to this several unforgettably brutal murders, an incredibly tense chase sequence, and the genius use of POV to portray a certain character (the role Vanessa Redgrave pulled out on, thank god) and you've got one of the best Italian horror films ever created.

That said-- it's still Italian horror. Why Christina never seems to tell anyone about this brutal murders is beyond anyone's comprehension. Some scenes might be difficult for certain viewers to stomach, but personally I felt more tension towards Christina and her eyes than any of the brutal slayings in the film. The finale to "Tenebrae" had my stomach churning more than anything in "Opera," but that's probably just me.

And the last five minutes... Argento wanted it, he filmed it, and he's fought to keep it in the film. Absolutely no one likes it, myself included, but it's not enough to ruin the rest of the film for me. It remains one of Argento's best films to date.

9/10

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Bad ending hurts this one.

Author: brandon sites (bigpappa1@spinfinder.com) from usa
25 May 2000

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After an opera star is injured in a car accident, her understudy is given the role of lady MacBeth, in a weird version of MacBeth, with ravens flying into the auidence. (Argentino planned to do the same) But, shortly after the plays success she becomes the victim of a stalker who forces her to watch him kill her friends in the opera community. All the usual Argentino trademarks are presented here intact; bad dubbing, a scary rock score, extreme graphic violence, poorly defined characters, etc. The special effects in this outing though are very realistic, and the scene with the bullet through the door is amazing. It is very, very creepy and disturbing. The ending is a bit of a letdown. Still worthwhile- 8 out of 10.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Very Good Argento Thriller

8/10
Author: EVOL666 from St. John's Abortion Clinic
11 October 2005

I rank OPERA as one of the better Argento films. Plot holes and inconsistencies? Sure, but I don't think they impair this film as much as many other reviewers seem to. A lot of elements that are in many of Argento's films are kinda "off-the-wall", but that's part of the draw of his films...

Short story: psycho stalks the opera's new leading lady. The typical Argento twists and turns ensue, leading up to a decent payoff of a climax. Not Argento's best, but I still pull this one out from time to time. Definitely worth a look if you like his other stuff - just don't get this one mixed up with the abysmal PHANTOM OF THE OPERA remake that Argento did, that one is truly awful... 8/10

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The Slasher of the Opera

6/10
Author: sol from Brooklyn NY USA
31 August 2005

(Some Spoilers) Understudy Betty, Cristina Marsillach, gets the leading role in the opera "Macbeth" after the lead actress Mara Chicova got hit by a car the day the play was to opened. With Betty becoming a smash success on the first nights performance the audience didn't notice that one of the stage hands was savagely slashed to death by a psycho killer in one of the empty side boxes.

The killer follows Betty after the play and finds her alone, at the Opera Hall. Tying Betty up the killer forces her to watch, by placing needles taped under her eyes, him slaughter her boyfriend Stefano, William MaNamara, who showed up later. Teffified with fear Betty runs out of the Opera Hall in the pouring rain to the director of the play Marco, Ian Charleson, apartment to spend the night. With the police being informed about Stefano's murder Inspector Santini ,Urbano Barberjin is put in charge of the case only to have Betty refuse around-the-clock police police protection.

The killer strikes again when he brutally slashes to death Giulia, Coralina Cataldi Tassoni, who handles the plays wardrobe. When she found a clue in one of the dresses that can identify him. Doing the same thing to Betty like he did to her when he butchered Stefano the killer forced her to see the whole bloody mess when he slashes Giulia to death.

Knowing that she's the main person that the killer is after and will eventually murder her Betty locks herself up in her apartment with Inspector Santini getting her a policeman to protect her. The Killer eludes the policeman, who he murders,and slips inside Betty's apartment after he killed her good friend Mira ,Daria Nicolodi, by blowing her brains out with a shot through the peep hole in the apartment door. Betty escapes with the help of her neighbor little Alma, Francesca Cassolo,through a secret passage way in the building.

Marco realizes that here's a witness, or witnesses, to the killer's crimes and who can identify him sets a trap for him the very next evenings performance of "Macbeth". With the killers target Betty on the stage. The film "Opera" is a good Italian slasher/thriller by writer/director Dario Argento but nowhere as good as it could have been if he didn't try to pad it up and make it far more complicated and convoluted that it really was.

The movie after what you thought was the ending just goes on and on with the killer coming back to torment Betty ,not once but twice, in the last fifteen minutes. Which were totally unnecessary and actually wrecked what was good in the movie that you saw up until then.

The last few minutes of "Opera" are so outlandish that you think for a moment your watching the musical "The Sound of Music". With Betty running through the grass with the Italian Alpes in the background. Argento went to great lengths to show us a connection between the killer and Betty's mother, who was a major opera singer, and what that had to do with the killers infatuation with her. All it did was muddle and confuse the story and pull the movie down to the caliber of a "Friday the 13th" clone like slasher film.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

More satisfying than both 'Suspiria' and 'Profondo Rosso' for me

8/10
Author: Atavisten from Tellus
14 April 2005

I saw both a few months ago and to be honest I was quite put off Argento by them. For imagination and grisly deaths yeah it was good, for inventive camera-work likewise, but for pacing, creating suspense and a frightful mood I think those two failed. In 'Opera' on the other hand this is heightened to a very decent level.

There are of course plot holes, incoherences, flaws and illogical behaviour which many complain about, but if you didn't expect that to happen in a giallo I don't know what movies of the genre (or director) you have seen before. In fact I found it quite tolerable here. What was quite dreadful however, was the dubbing and the acting. Maybe the acting was so bad because of the dubbing? The heroine I like a lot (not for her acting) and the director made the best performance.

The main reason I liked this probably is style. Style is so thick it carries the whole movie for me. Stitched together opera, theater, movie and quite various music (high quality from Verdi and Puccini to Brian Eno + some horrible poodle metal which like in 'Demoni' was strangely acceptable) makes for a real feast for eyes and ears. Cinematography fitted the story much better than it did for 'Suspiria' and 'Profondo Rosso' IMO. For example the POV of the diva and the crows was mighty fine. Using an opera as backdrop is not a bad idea actually, as the directing style, the camera work, lighting and sets are quite grandiose and dramatic by itself.

Killing scenes are so sadistic and brutal that I would prefer them to be little shorter, but if squirming is your thing then this is for you. The imagery is quite unforgettable either way.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Hugely enjoyable gorefest! One of Argento's silliest and yet most brutal movies.

Author: Infofreak from Perth, Australia
28 December 2002

The wildly uneven Dario Argento follows up his stupidest and least enjoyable movie ('Phenomena' a.k.a. 'Creepers') with another silly effort but this time, paradoxically, one of his most entertaining ever. 'Phenomena' had too many ideas crammed in to one movie and failed to hold my interest, perhaps learning from that mistake, 'Opera' has one idea and relentlessly, brutally exploits it over and over. The idea being a psycho punishes an aspiring opera singer (played by the gorgeous Cristina Marsillach) by tying her up, placing needles under her eyes so she cannot look away, and forcing her to watch him dispatch her colleagues in increasingly gruesome and inventive ways. After each murder he lets her go, only to do it all over again later. Genius! Argento's critics complain his plots are ridiculous, his characters paper thin, and he is more concerned over flamboyant and stylish depictions of violence. 'Opera' is guilty of all those accusations and then some, but is just so nutty and plain nasty that you can't but help love it! A psychoanalyst would probably have a field day with this movie, but I took it for what it was - stupid and vicious fun. 'Opera' isn't Argento's best or most accomplished film, but it is one of his most enjoyable and entertaining. Highly recommended!

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Very Disappointed

2/10
Author: latherzap from USA
1 November 2001

I like some of Argento's other movies (Tenebrae, Deep Red..). I have learned to accept the plot holes and just enjoy his movies for the atmosphere and interesting camera-work.

But "Opera" was a struggle to get through. Very limited characterization, and gratuitous point-of-view scenes with the camera performing acrobatic feats. One of the lowest points are the close-ups of all the ravens just hanging out. I guess this was supposed to be unnerving, but if I had come upon those bland scenes while channel surfing I would have assumed it was the Discovery channel. Nothing unique.

Plot? there's a killer on the loose. I can't remember what his motives were. Some bad dialogue- In one scene two women hide in the kitchen, away from the killer. One of them brilliantly declares "We can defend ourselves!" and proceeds to grab some knives.

In my opinion, "Opera" sucked. And it needs to be said.

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

I am nothing like my mother. Nothing like her!

7/10
Author: lastliberal from United States
1 October 2010

If you love Dario Argento as I do, you forgive him his faults. Don't focus on the small mistakes, just enjoy a true master of horror.

Betty (Cristina Marsillach) takes over the lead in an opera after a car accident knocks out the diva. Then, the fun begins.

She is forced to watch as other members of the cast and crew are horribly murdered one by one. She suspects that she will last.

Then, there were the birds! A real thriller with the outcome in doubt even when you thought it was over.

Marsillach was not great, but she did give a fair performance in another Argento classic.

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