Don't Look Now (1973)
Don't Look Now is a strange motion picture, drenched in symbolism, and with a labyrinthine plot that keeps the audience's minds spinning and wondering what the meaning of all of its odd shots is. Well eventually it all does come together, but, well, maybe one viewing isn't enough to soak it all in, because I was left wondering if there was something I missed.
The film opens with the death of the daughter of John and Laura Baxter (Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie), in a sequence with some brilliant film editing, as it cuts between the girl playing outside and the parents inside, and we get the idea that maybe John is having a premonition of this tragedy. This sets the tone for the rest of the film.
The Baxters, now living in Venice, meet a pair of sisters, Wendy (Clelia Matania) and Heather (Hilary Mason), who is a blind psychic. Heather warns Laura to leave Venice and says that something terrible is going to happen to John if they don't leave. She also claims to have seen their dead daughter Christine and that she is happy. Laura believes Heather, but John is skeptical and refuses to leave Venice. He thinks he keeps seeing Christine running through the streets of Venice in the same red raincoat she was wearing when she drowned. But that couldn't be. Or could it?
I found Don't Look Now to be dreadfully boring in some stretches and other parts were pretty incomprehensible. There were also some very compelling sequences, and the film comes to a climax that is almost able to redeem the whole picture. As I stated before, there is a ton of symbolism here, with the color red and water playing a large part in tying various pieces of the movie together. There is also a great deal of religious imagery. But it almost feels like there is just too much symbolism and not enough reality. Sometimes it seems like there are symbols of symbols being flashed on the screen.
Maybe Don't Look Now bears repeat viewings to fully capture its essence, but I'm not at a point in my movie-watching life where I want to take that kind of time to have to study a film to enjoy it. For this reason, I can't really recommend this film unless you're into stuff that's weird for the sake of being weird, or want to write an essay on symbolism, for which this film would be a perfect choice.
April 6, 2005