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Don't Look Now (reissue)


Stars: Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland, Hilary Mason, Clelia Matania, Massimo Serato, Renato Scarpa, Giorgio Trestini, Leopoldo Trieste

Director: Nicolas Roeg

In 1988 Roeg said of his shockfilm classic, 'I'm glad it's had some relevance to people today - that it touches them in some way. It can still do its job.'

It still does.

Sutherland and Christie are picture-perfect as a married English couple who, understandably traumatised by the drowning of their young daughter, are now living in Venice where Sutherland is overseeing the restoration of an old church. The couple are hoping relocation will help vitiate their unhappiness - but when they encounter a blind psychic Englishwoman claiming to be in touch with their dead daughter, Sutherland's trauma is potentiated. And then he comes to believe that he sees his dead daughter walking by a canal...

Scripted by Allan Scott and Chris Bryant from a Daphne Du Maurier story, the film remains a potent, chilling, emotionally troubling experience boasting seminal characterisations by Sutherland and Christie, decorated and enhanced by Anthony Richmond's atmospheric cinematography and Roeg's vivid use of Venice locations to underscore the mounting emotional stress undergone by Sutherland's character.

Roeg's Venetian locations are fascinatingly chosen, omitting the usual tourist-friendly canal shots (as exemplified by Spider-Man: Far From Home) to create a scary city riddled with dark back alleys and unattractive stagnant canals which help make Sutherland's mounting angst all the more credible.

When the film was first released in 1973, much was inevitably then made of Sutherland and Christie's border-breaking sex scene which was entirely removed by the BBC when they first screened the film on television.

Don't Look Now remains a genre classic that is still impossible to ignore and which vividly lives up to Sutherland's (admittedly out of context) comment, 'Nothing is what it seems'.

An unmissable experience.

Alan Frank

UK/Italy 1973. UK Distributor: StudioCanal. Technicolor.
110 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 3, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 05 Jul 2019