A list of Edgar Wright's favorite 1000 Movies per his list on Mubi on July 27th, 2016.
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…
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.…
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.
technically speaking, De Palma can work a camera with the best of them. and if there's a saving grace in the very outdated approach to the transgender community, it's somewhere in the difference between how we see ourselves and how others see us. it's a shame he's such a silly director of tone. all over the place here, and the classic Hollywood affectations never jibe with the bravura innovations. De Palma arrived a generation late.
a de palma masterpiece
i am officially done with de palma. he's a gorgeous formalist, sure, and (most of) the angie dickinson section is tops, but then the "twist" and the transphobia and the constantly punishing women for men's sexual problems, and does the lady cop even have any LINES?!?! . . . yeah, i'm done. fuck this movie.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Ah! Here’s a shocking opening sequence. Both sexual and frightening, the latter nipping at the heels of the former, jolting the audience into paying attention to the film. Dressed to Kill goes on to delve into the sexual desires of a married middle-aged woman (an oft-ignored category in Hollywood), with one of the most wonderful scenes I’ve ever seen. As Kate Miller, our protagonist, follows a mysterious tall, dark and handsome man around an art gallery in a dialogue-less, public-yet-hidden game of foreplay. By the time she finds him, waiting for her in the taxi cab, I was just as out of breath and ready for anything as she is. Following their off-screen sex, there’s an even more shocking moment…
Provides that "crucial" link between Hitchcock's "Vertigo"/"Psycho" and Verhoeven's "Basic Instinct"...
"Dressed To Kill" is a clever combination of slasher genre schlock and visionary, totally self-assured direction from De Palma. Not one for subtlety, he slathers the film with thick layers of style, hammers his favorite themes (sex, murder, voyeurism, psycopathy - often all at once), piles on story twists, taunts logic - and it's better for it. "Go bold or go home," no?
The film is the progenitor of the "erotic thriller" genre that was all the rage the rest of the 80's and 90's. So we have De Palma to "thank" for it. But "Dressed To Kill," and its underlying silliness is much more fun, more self-aware, smarter,…
To be, or not to be, that is the question.
O De Palma, the magnificent disciples of Hitchcock!
A luscious and steamy thriller/Hitchcock homage. Literally... with not 1, but 2 extended showering sequences.
"Dressed to Kill," is eager to thrill, titillate, and present De Palma's own idea of "artistic" filmmaking - and it does all 3 quite well.
Dressed to Kill is a beautifully acted and directed Hitchcockian giallo, which loves to toy with our expectations.
Every time I watch this I think about Jeremy Piven's line in PCU, where he tells the guy who's doing his thesis on Michael Cain and Gene Hackman movies always being on TV, "Call me for the shower scene in Dressed to Kill ". And I'm like, that's the first scene dude. Stick around.
Movies that are slightly off.