Movies that are slightly off.
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…
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.
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…
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.…
You can never accuse Brian De Palma of going about things half-arsed. This is an unabashed Hitchcock fan's tribute to Psycho. De Palma is a very skilled director and his Hitch tributes are always fun. He seems to enjoy adding elements of Grand Guignol to this one, the film borders on the cartoonish at times.
It being so over the top keeps it from being a great film but it helps it to be a very entertaining one.
When you mention the name Brian De Palma one of the first responses you're likely to get is "He's the guy that did SCARFACE, right?" That and THE UNTOUCHABLES are probably his two most recognizable titles, unless you count the first installment in the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE series.
But De Palma is more than gangsters and Tom Cruise trying to not perspire while infiltrating a locked down room.
I'd never seen DRESSED TO KILL until now, but I was very aware of De Palma's admiration for the works of Alfred Hitchcock. DTK is an homage to some of Hitchcock's greatest works, especially PSYCHO and VERTIGO. It's a movie of two halves, much like PSYCHO and the first half works better than…
Pretty much an unauthorized remake of Psycho, done in the way that only De Palma could do. There's nothing actually bad about that, and knowing what I know now from reading up on De Palma, I did like how Keith Gordon's stand-in character turns out to be such a great heroic force for his ingenuity and determination to find his mother's killer. There are some killer scenes here, including the justifiably famous museum seduction sequence, the build-up to the big kill (has there ever been such a graphic film with such a low body count?), the stopwatch sequence and the vivid visuals on display in the final moments of the film, but I had to say I was surprised to…
Dressed to Kill may be the definitive DePalma film if it weren't aping Hitchcock so much... but then again, that would make it the definitive DePalma film. [B]
One of Brian de Palma's most quintessential films that explores the dangers of sex in the pre-AIDS world as well as an interesting murder mystery with themes on transgender and sexual identity.
Basically just a heavily sexualized 80's Psycho. But it does a real good job of that. Like, this movie is fun to watch, you really get invested into the protagonist and really hope for her well being, which is one of the biggest factors in a horror film. Super enthralling and thrilling. But to get the most out of this movie try to avoid reading much about it, or the twist will become pretty predictable. S/o to Brian De Palma because this movie rules.
Grimy, stylish, and tense. A very effective erotic horror/thriller.
It's astounding that de Palma took what was already the worst scene in Psycho and made it, instead of an explanation of dissociative identity, a horribly transphobic monologue (which is continued onto the next conversation, only increasing my disgust when the topic of sexual reassignment surgery is treated with such distaste and as a point of humor).
Honestly, everything from the seduction scene onward just rubbed me the wrong way, not that I'm opposed to it on principle but because it just seemed so awkwardly scripted and performed (the only scene in the film that had come close to being nearly as bad was the first scene between the kid and the escort).
When your cop is wearing a brown leather jacket, brandishing a necklace and reeking of a bloke who just walked out of Boogie Nights you know you’re in for some ridiculousness. I’ve watched some seriously serious films of late and this trashy de Palma pulp was the perfect tonic; escapism of the highest order. And that’s perhaps underselling it. His camera is at its manic best, so expressive and so well suited to his tonal intentions. You want split screen discos? You got it!
To describe the plot is not only unhelpful but irrelevant. Everything that happens is sexy and violent and hyper-dramatic. The score is a beauty. Big sounds occupy big pauses in the action but don’t you worry, you’ll get your feed. Is there another director so intent on feeding your receptors? I doubt it. So watch Dressed to Kill. Satiate those cravings.
Quentin Tarantino's favorite films based on the internet pulled from multiple sources.
The 1980's were when I came of age as a horror-movie viewer. This is when I learned how to watch…