a list that is trying to contain every horror film made that is not lost and is found on the…
New Orleans businessman Michael Courtland’s life is shattered when his wife and daughter are tragically killed in a botched kidnap rescue attempt. Many years later whilst visiting Italy he meets and falls in in love with Sandra Portinari, who bears a striking resemblance to his wife.
I was enjoying this as an essay about itself/about remaking VERTIGO (and probably some other stuff I missed while in the bathroom), then that masterful final sequence hit and the needle went from 3 1/2 to four stars, because I realized I kind of cared about these tragic characters too.
If the critics and nerdlingers who decried this for being "nothing but a Hitchcock knock-off" only knew what the popular cinema landscape was like now, they would probably kill their own wife and daughter for something even remotely as technically well executed and idiosyncratic as this.
DePalma's Hitchcock films >>> DePalma's Gangster films.
It's played for pure sensationalism, but wow, just take the opening for example: the cuts come hard and fast, the shots are incisive close-ups. This is De Palma working much more abstractly than Hitchcock, his focus is on creating poignant and indelible images that seem to have the singular purpose of driving towards striking horror (perhaps more purely achieved in his next film, The Fury). Of course, the structure is complex and plot perhaps overwrought, but that's what defines this as a De Palma fim complete with self-aware irony and smiling nods to its influences. A stylish and bold piece of thriller.
What's good film criticism anyway if not love distorted by memory and private fears?
I've got a problem with John Lithgow.
The thing is that whenever he's in a film where he starts off as a good guy, I just spend the whole film waiting for the moment where he does something despicable. Because it WILL come. It has to. Because he's John Lithgow and he's ALWAYS a bad guy.
Now I'm not saying whether he undergoes that transformation in Obsession. That isn't even the point. The point is that I've seen him play so many villains that I thought I was going to sit watching Obsession thinking to myself, "Yeah yeah, John, you're a lovely guy, now just stab Cliff Robertson in the face and get it over and done with,…
A: Why did Brian De Palma cross the road?
A: Because he saw Hitchcock do it first.
I like when De Palma hits a lurid showboat stride and drags Hitchcockian thriller psychoses screaming into the gauzy light. So, I was a little disappointed Obsession plays mostly straight and understated (by De Palma standards at least). But that helluva twist! And slow motion airport running and forced perspective shrinking and camera circling like a hysteric who uncovered a deep dark secret. The movie feels like a baby step toward more outre and heightened psychodramas like Dressed to Kill and Body Double. But we all gotta start somewhere, right?
Also, I loved John Lithgow as a Cajun fine art lover! Him and his 15-years-later salt'n'pepper stache got me through the bumpy patches.
#411 OBSESSION - Hitchcockian almost to a fault. A little slow and predictable, but it looks great. #DLMChallenge #366Movies #366Days ★★★★ twitter.com/junesongprovidr/status/779957763170533376/photo/1
Needlessly complicated to an absurd degree this intriguing premise does little to capture audience interest as it plods its way through an interesting but ultimately ludicrous plot
Brian De Palma shoots a Brian De Palma script. Wouldn't it be nice if that happened again?
Of course this dude has Audubon's Wild Turkey (Havell engraving, no doubt) hanging in his dining room.
Southern dandy John Lithgow
Slowly and slowly, I'm making my way through De Palma's filmography and he's slowly becoming one of my favourite directors.
This film is similar to the suspense and psychological aspects that can be found his later dramas such as Blow Out and Body Double, however, this is less stark and more brooding, a slow burner that keeps you watching.
The main let down when it comes to this film is that the editing is a bit off at places, causing the pacing to be horrific, jumping too quickly at moments where things should be key.
Nevertherless, an enjoyable watch.
The first two acts are often obscenely overblown thanks to a combination of Hermann's ridiculous score and DePalma's persistently playful camera. However, the master shows his true colours in the magnificently taut, tense and ultimately haunting final act - where even the score, theatrics and melodrama find their groove. And as predictable as Lythgow's arc might be, he's an absolute star throughout as the cynical and slippery best friend.
Lacks De Palma's usual energy and visual flair. Possibly due to charisma vacuum Cliff Robertson, who would have been better replaced by someone like Gregory Peck. Odd casting of Lithgow too. You only have to look at him to know where his bread is buttered.
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
Found these lists (twelve total which I've compiled) a couple years back and they slowly became my bible for weird…