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You can skip movies 10 times but never go back.
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.
Part of Hoop-Tober 2016
“Look, I know what dirty is, and this is dirty.”
Werner Herzog has often spoken of what he calls “ecstatic truth”—the ability of literature, music, and film to reach a deep, profound, poetic level of truth beyond mere factual reality. A recitation of facts can be informative, but it is not necessarily illuminating—it is “the truth of accountants,” superficially accurate but devoid of mystery and character and complexity. Ecstatic truth probes beyond that to levels of abstraction and imagination, reaching the elusive, ineffable parts of the psyche and the soul that make us human. An encyclopedia entry on fear may yield scientific detail on autonomic responses, but it can’t hold a candle to a viewing of…
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.…
I have a lot to consider before I write anything about this.
Our October film club movie pick, and a first watch for me. 'Dressed to Kill' is nothing what I was expecting, and ended up being so much more. All the usual DePalma themes and visual tricks are here, just in an earlier iteration. What shocked me is how present Hitchcock's spirit is in this thing. The early demise of a main character, a female dressed up as the spitting image of Marion Crane, sharp objects and shower stalls, mistaken identities, etc. Picking out those hidden Hitch objects like the back page of a Highlights magazine is part of the fun of watching 'Dressed to Kill'.
Fuck you De Palma and all of your movies.
If you can accept some inconsistencies here and there, you can get Brian de Palma's version of an Hitchcock suspense-thriller on steroids.
It's stylish - Slow motion, filtered lights,
minutely elaborate camera rides,
dream-like scenes and of course,
exaggerated and sometimes tasteless.
I fell in love with this film immediately.
Creepy and disturbing on so many levels.
Not ashamed to say I tweeted while watching this movie.
That museum scene.
Lock "her" up!
De Palma's erotic homage to "Psycho" filled with sex, murder, unrelenting suspense, and of course Nancy Allen.
What's not to love honestly?
UPDATED: October 21, 2016
The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that sells "important classic and contemporary films" in…