Nicholas Roeg has passed away at the age of 90.

The influential British filmmaker first made his name as a cinematographer, working on such classics as Dr. Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia, and Fahrenheit 451. He got his directorial career off to a rocking start with the controversial Performance (1970) starring Mick Jagger. Roeg was no stranger to genre; his films include The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) and The Witches (1990).1 Many people remember him for the movie we’re reviewing as a memorial, Don’t Look Now (1973). The cryptic cult classic combines Hitchcockian style and psychological horror with twists supernatural (or science-fictional, I suppose, depending on your interpretation of the film).

Rest in Peace.

It’s questionable whether the characters in this film can.

Title: Don’t Look Now (1973)

Cast and Crew

Directed by Nicholas Roeg
Written by Allan Scott and Chris Bryant, from the story by Daphne du Maurier.

Donald Sutherland as John Baxter
Julie Christie as Laura Baxter
Hilary Mason as Heather
Clelia Matania as Wendy
Massimo Serato as Bishop Barbarrigo
Renato Scarpa as Inspector Longhi
Sharon Williams as Christine Baxter
Giorgio Trestini as Workman
Leopoldo Trieste as Hotel Manager
David Tree as Anthony Babbage
Ann Rye as Mandy Babbage
Nicholas Salter as Johnny Baxter
Bruno Cattaneo as Detective Sabbione
Adelina Poerio as Dwarf

Available at Amazon Prime.

Premise:

After the tragic death of their young daughter, a couple relocate to Venice where he accepts a job restoring an old church.

After she encounters some mysterious women, the couple find evidence their daughter, despite her definitive death, may still be alive, or at least moving about. Our restorer begins to question his senses as his life entangles with a mystery involving an apparent serial killer, occultic cultists, his daughter, and boundaries between realities.

High Points:

The film boasts a stunning visual style and a twist that makes sense of a complex, confusing mystery….

Low Points:

…but aspects of it may seem rather forced and arbitrary, though perhaps that is, in part, the point.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6 It’s an adaptation, but it’s an original-feeling adaptation of a singular story.

Effects: 4/6

Acting: 5/6

Production: 6/6 The film makes effective use of Venice as a location, and it has been edited brilliantly.

Story: 5/6

Emotional Response: 5/6 It indicates something of the film’s effect that officials in Venice worried it would frighten away tourists.

Overall: 5/6 Not all films have been made to suit all tastes:

1. The pacing, in places, is slow and deliberate.

2. Don’t Look Now features (for a mainstream movie at the time) explicit sex and nudity.2

In total, Don’t Look Now receives 34/42

Notes

1. His TV work also includes an episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

2. Don’t Look Now played, in some markets as a double bill with The Wicker Man. That would have been something to see.