Designed to cause shit. This is not an overrated films list because opinions are subjective. However I would love to…
Dressed to Kill
The Latest Fashion In Murder
A mysterious, tall, blonde woman, wearing sunglasses murders one of a psychiatrist's patients, and now she's after the prostitute who witnessed it.
The opening of Dressed to Kill, with its soft-core seduction and luscious yet calculated imagery, is Brian De Palma grasping his fundamental characteristics and shrinking them into a singular sequence of delight and horror. A woman, standing naked in the shower, is watching her husband shave behind the foggy glass, and as dreams morph into fantasies and nightmares, we as an audience witness an entire history of a relationship through sensual gestures and primal fixations.
It is this woman, played by Angie Dickinson, who De Palma takes not as his main subject but as a flirtatious prisoner of sorts. Cutting from the opening sequence, we see Kate having sex with her husband in an unromantic and unsatisfying fashion, and…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
If you've been following along, you can probably guess what I hated about this. De Palma's style is great. He's got this slick, noirish feel that makes good use to shadow and reflection and odd angles to drive the intensity of any given scene, but almost right away, I predicted his big twist. And, of course, the twist left a sour taste in my mouth. All the Hitchcockian references, all the gloriously bloody murders, all the weird inventions by the hapless kid that could make this a great film seem wasted by the transphobic plotline.
The list of films that commit this sin is a long one. [SPOILERS FOLLOW FOR OTHER FILMS--I CAN'T SAY WHICH ONES WITHOUT SPOILING THINGS ABOUT…
I like the acknowledgment of how tough it is to be a gal, the sympathetic look into an older woman's desires, the touched-upon-but-not-fully-developed issues of victim blaming, the confusions of masculinity and femininity. That all this is done from such a ~sexy~ male point of view is...questionable, as is, obviously, the implications of the ending. But the gender politics should be dissected by someone smarter and more knowledgeable than me.
Leave all of that out of the equation, and you still have a beautiful thriller that pulls off being campy AND scary AND exciting AND emotional all at once. Elegant exploitation.
De Palma had a Hitchcock marathon, watched a few 70's Argento films, drank a bottle of whiskey, passed out...and this film is us watching his dreams. The "rip off or homage?" debate is valid, but I like to think that he saw the sexuality just begging to be let out in Hitchcock's films, and decided to set it free.
Don't make me be a bad girl again!
Brian De Palma is hardly the first or only director to ape Alfred Hitchcock, but I dare say he might be the best at it. The thing is De Palma clearly recognizes what made Hitchcock one of the greatest directors of all time. Whether or not he's emulating him or ripping him off is debatable, he has the talent for whichever it is though.
It could also be argued that the story itself is a different and sleazier take on one of Hitchcock's greatest films. There's several elements that clearly point to a certain film, but to mention them would also be spoiling some key plot points in the film. While…
More epic trash from De Palma. His shot compositions are so ridiculously awesome I could watch any of his films on repeat and never need to watch anything else.
Dressed to Kill is a crash course in Brian De Palma's signature cinematic fetishes from a pleasantly sympathetic female point of view.
It's pretty easy to boil the movie down to Psycho with hints of Vertigo, but I've always been in favor of De Palma's Hitchcock influences. Saying that he was influenced by Hitchcock is like saying that Scarface was influenced by Howard Hawks: it's both obvious and unimportant; what matters is that he's learning lessons from the right filmmakers (plus, let's be honest, you know a De Palma when you see one in a different way from knowing a Hitchcock). What's more interesting is the way Dressed to Kill condenses such a large proportion of De Palma's visual cues.…
Such a fantastic feeling when a Criterion blind-buy becomes an all-time favorite. Love, love, love this movie.
Probably overrating this a bit. I'll blame it on my recent reappraisal of Blow Out and the awesome Criterion blus for both.
On a second watch this went down quite a bit for me. Became even more clear that once Angie Dickinson leaves the story becomes both aggressively idiotic and offensive. On the idiotic end of things, Nancy Allen's and Keith Gordon's characters both feel like they came over from entirely different films and their team-up is never believable for a second. As far as the offensive part, not much needs to be said. But the scene where a description of SRS is played for yuks by showing the disgusted reaction of an old lady in the background (repeatedly) is pretty odious.
really like this but can't escape feeling like it might be empty
w/e, minor de palma is still great
De Palma acting out his De Palma-iest desires. If only Nancy Allen and Amy Irving had switched roles in Carrie, this movie would have almost exactly the same ending. And the shower scenes are reminiscent of the one in Blow Out, but pervier. Super trashy, and I don't quite know how to feel.
The 1st time I saw this was in a high school film class. We also watched Psycho and compared the films.
Everything just said in the Black Dahlia entry is even truer here. Loved other stuff, too, like the art museum scene: utterly silent, sparing use of the 180-degree rule, and paintings that become increasingly abstract as Angie wanders further into the abyss of her own desires. The scene finds a great point of contact in The Black Dahlia, when Josh Hartnett gazes at a morbid painting in a mansion and confesses that he doesn't "get" Modern art. Hilary Swank gives the textbook femme-fatale response, maybe Modern art doesn't "get" you, either. Turns out, in The Black Dahlia, this new style of painting is aligned neatly with precisely the murder our "hero" is investigating. Twenty-six years later, De Palma, still doing…
Did this live up to the hype...yes it did! I now see why De Palma is so praised!
the very definition of cinema
Movies that are slightly off.
The 2016 (2nd) edition of the list. You can see the original and more info here.
With a list of…