Thursday, 7 July 2011

Blu-Ray Review: Don't Look Now

Directed By Nic Roeg
 
Starring Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland, Hilary Mason
 
 
Synopsis:
The tale deals of a married couple, John Baxter (Donald Sutherland) and Laura (Julie Christie), whose daughter Christine recently drowned in a lake near their house. They decide to travel to Venice during the off-season when John gets a contract to restore an old church. They hope that the opportunity will help them deal with what has happened.
While in Venice , John starts to believe that he might have psychic abilities, based upon the fact that he was able to sense that something was happening wrong with his daughter before it was too late. At a restaurant they meet two elderly sisters; one of them, Heather (Hilary Mason), is blind and psychic and tells Laura that she sees Christine and that she is happy. These events help to put the couple on a dangerous path.
 
Review:
Optimum do it again with this Blu-Ray release of one of British cinema’s greatest achievements; Nic Roeg’s spooky film, Don’t Look Now. Starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie in the adaptation of a Daphne Du Maurier story, this new release captures the spirit of the movie like no other previous release.
 
It’s story is mournful and tragic and Venice in it’s off season serves as a great backdrop for this film. The atmosphere of the place is almost a character in its own right. The movie patiently builds up with the use of imagery, and score. Similarly to Roeg’s feature The Man Who Fell to Earth, the look of the movie is very dream-like. Roeg uses many devices in maintaining the atmosphere of the movie. The actors punch through the Roeg-dreamscape with very real performances that help punctuate the humanity in the storytelling, drawing the viewer deeper in. The much described chemistry between Christie and Sutherland helps greatly to endear themselves to the audience. For once a s*x scene actually works in a movie, where it serves to show the bond between the characters and juxtaposes against the tragedy. For the reason, the movie is quite depressing and should be avoided if feeling a little delicate. Otherwise, it’s a great movie for emotion and emoting. It’s challenging and all the better for it.
 
The movie has been digitally restored, the process of which was both supervised and approved by the Director. The better picture quality helps emphasise the attention to detail that Roeg gave to the film, especially with the colours in the movie. Not surprisingly the colour red is very important in the story and helps forewarn the audience of the impending final moments. the cinematography alone is worth double dipping on, or even triple dipping if you’re a fan and have had the movie from its VHS release onwards. You’ll notice the age of the movie even with this print, but Don’t Look Now has never looked as good as this.
 
The Blu-Ray has had all the extra features ported over from the DVD special edition. I hope this practice continues as my only real criticism of Optimum releases has been the lack of extras on their catalogue Blu-Rays.
 
Summary
A welcome re-issue to appeal to new viewers and those of us who already own older DVDs.

Score: 8/10

This edition was released on Monday 4th July 2011 and available from all good outlets

1 comment:

Wes M said...

Good stuff. I watched this one at the weekend and I was very pleased with the Blu. My only complaint, and it's a tiny one, is that the Italian dialogue was not subbed. It's been a few years since I've watched it but I'm sure the old German DVD provides English subs for these dialogue exchanges...