A rich but lonely woman, Frances Austen, one day invites a homeless young man from a nearby park to her apartment and offers to let him live there. However, she has no intention of ever letting him leave again.
Like Polanski's heroine in Repulsion, Susannah York's character is one that is seemingly haunted by memories of undisclosed magnitude. These memories are perhaps rooted in some sort of past sexual turmoil that causes York's character to see men as inherently the same.Written by
Director Robert Altman on casting Susannah York: "It was after I'd seen Susannah in something I particularly didn't like her in. I saw Jane Eyre (1970) on a trans-Atlantic plane flight one night. And I couldn't figure out why I was sitting there for that long looking at that awful film. George C. Scott was atrocious in it. But Susannah's face intrigued me so much. I never got tired of her. The problem with Images (1972) is that the girl is on the screen for just about 100% of the time. So I was very conscious of the fact that we needed someone who the audience wasn't going to tire of. And now, in retrospect, there's no way I can re-adjust my mind backwards to think anybody but Susannah York could have played it". See more »
[repeated line, while searching for the vermouth]
Son of a bitch.
See more »
Since the 90s, audiences have been treated to a variety of "mind blowing" thrillers, films that make people sit up in their chairs and say, "what the hell is going on?" We've had JACOB'S LADDER, DONNIE DARKO, MULHOLLAND DRIVE... The subgenre culminated in the profoundly weird LOST HIGHWAY and the profoundly lucrative THE SIXTH SENSE. Now, as audiences wade through pale imitations like THE MACHINIST and THE NUMBER 23, it's good to go back to the roots of this strange breed of movie. Those roots would be IMAGES.
IMAGES was a superflop upon release, and it's not hard to see why. With a bleak, dreary atmosphere, characters impossible to trust, and slow moody pacing, Altman wasn't trying to make the feel-good hit of the summer. Or even a film with stable logic-- every time a "rule" appears explaining what's going on, it's broken.
Is Cathryn going crazy? Is her husband and his friends playing tricks on her? Is she being visited by spirits? Are figures and scenes from an alternate universe crossing over into this one? Or is something sinister disturbing the flow of cause-and-effect reality? IMAGES poses all these questions, yet answers none of them. There are no "twists", no silly contrivances, no deus ex machina moments to save the day and explain everything. No. This is straight up cinematic insanity, something even the noblest of mind-bending flicks fail to achieve (with the exception of LOST HIGHWAY).
In the end, the audience is invited, by means of provocative images, to make sense of the film themselves. This is no easy task, which explains the godawful reviews bestowed at Cannes and in the American press. Over time, with a little help from David Lynch, audiences have gotten savvier at decoding nightmares of logic, and IMAGES has found its acclaim in an era where "Twin Peaks", "X-Files" and "Lost" make must-see TV, unthinkable decades ago.
The acting is superb. The cinematography is perfect, capturing an ultra-creepy visual mood that contemporary filmmakers (such as Gore Verbinski with THE RING) aspire to, but fall short. John Williams' (!) score is a major asset, with sound effects of all types punctuating the mood like an impressionist painting.
Depsite being clunky in parts, IMAGES is must-see film to appreciate the depth of Robert Altman, or complete your knowledge of mind-blowers.
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