iklelele’s review published on Letterboxd:
Give your soul to the dance.
Amidst the terrorism of the RAF and the abysmal socio-economic state of Germany, there resides the Helena-Markos-Tanzakademie where spiritual, exuberantly choreographed dances contrast the stale scenery of the bisected Berlin in the 70's. Without any prior knowledge of the original work, I permitted myself to be fully hypnotized by Guadagnino's Suspiria . Yet, I broke out of the trance more than once.
The setting is peculiar. We don't see a wide range of films set in Germany, not to mention during this period of time. Unspectacular mundaneness though turns into allure as the monotony is disturbed by one of the film's center pieces. The school. An allegorical architecture with great halls of mirrors obscuring the narrow tunnels, both provoking disorientation, reflecting the schemes of The Three Mothers . The cinematography accounts for many of Suspiria's erratic visual assets with its camera ostensibly monitoring all rooms from all angles, attached to all the students and utilizing the deceptive characteristics of the Tanzakakademie to pure madness-inducing extent.
Madame Blanc. Tilda Swinton delivers a downright delicate performance, again proving that she is one of the most transformative (couldn't believe my eyes that she indeed played Dr. Klemperer) actresses working today, slowly becoming one of my favourites. Unable to transfer her sharp presence to Dakota Johnson's Susie Bannion, the lead in Guadagnino's remake is by far one of the weakest links. Soullessly she participates in the plot, past all autonomy her character is at the end of the day a mean for an end, a figurative puppet spellbinded by the enticing aura of the Tanzakademie. In fact, the story alludes to the inevitable ending with fortune-telling flashbacks showing the maelstrom-effect of Berlin and the school on her which makes the excessive CGI blood splatter with less impact during the climactic moment. Up until then Suspiria's crawly, restrained nature gave me chills on numerous occasions. The films handles the sudden outbursts of horror and perplexity aptly, always keeping its cool with the exception of the ending ritual. A disappointing finale, considering the immense build up, in which Suspiria's hocus-pocus at long last ceases.
If we resort to the enclosing ambience and the part of the plot that doesn't take place in the spatialites of the bewitched school, the film emerges as quite meager. Lethargic when Klemperer is on screen, indecisive when it tries to imbed the RAF. The latter one is a miserable attempt to spice up the story, to counteract the radiating appeal of the Akademie and to prevent the viewers from dozing off.
Hopefully, 1977's Suspiria is capable of putting me in a hypnotic state where I long to stay in forever.