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Monday, October 16, 2023

‘Don’t Look Now’ 4K Ultra HD Review – Nicolas Roeg’s Horror Movie Has Aged Like a Fine Wine 50 Years Later

“Nothing is what it seems.” A seemingly offhand remark made early in Don’t Look Now is slowly revealed to be the theme around which the film revolves.

Nicolas Roeg’s (The Witches, The Man Who Fell to Earth) directorial efforts may not have always connected with audiences immediately, but his impressionistic approach has aged like fine wine. Don’t Look Now, in particular, was decades ahead of its time upon its release in 1973.

The screenplay — written by Allan Scott (The Witches, The Queen’s Gambit) and Chris Bryant (The Awakening), based on a 1971 short story by Daphne du Maurier (Rebecca, The Birds) — analyzes the psychological effects of trauma through a horror lens; a motif we’ve seen explored many times over in recent years, from Ari Aster’s filmography to David Gordon Green’s Halloween trilogy.

Following the tragic drowning of their young daughter, architect John Baxter (Donald Sutherland, The Hunger Games) and bereaved wife Laura (Julie Christie, Fahrenheit 451) travel from their English country home to Venice to oversee the restoration of a church. After a blind psychic (Hilary Mason, Dolls) tells her that their daughter is still with them, Laura’s grief subsides at last. The skeptical John, on the other hand, becomes increasingly unnerved as his reality becomes unwound.

Don’t Look Now is a slow-burner, but a sustained dread permeates throughout its 110 minutes via kinetic direction, careful camerawork, innovative editing, and natural performances. The juxtaposition between Sutherland and Christie’s grounded portrayals — from their divergent journeys through the stages of grief to a sex scene that sparked controversy at the time of release — and the idiosyncratic characters that surround them in a foreign land accentuates the tension.

Roeg avoids the use of red in wardrobe and set design to make the color pop when it shows up in blood and the daughter’s distinct jacket. He and director of photography Anthony B. Richmond (Candyman, Legally Blonde) manage to make picturesque Venice look unwelcoming, even Gothic. Composer Pino Donaggio (Carrie, Seed of Chucky), making his film debut, helps to lull viewers into a false sense of security with a lush yet melancholic score.

First joining The Criterion Collection on Blu-ray in 2015, Don’t Look Now has received a 4K Ultra HD upgrade with StudioCanal’s recent 4K restoration from the 35mm original camera negative, supervised by Richmond, presented with Dolby Vision HDR and uncompressed monaural sound remastered from the 35mm magnetic track. Never has the picture’s atmosphere been so haunting as it is with the added benefit of superior dynamic range. The included fold-out poster has liner notes by film critic David Thompson on the reverse side.

Special features (on the accompanying Blu-ray) for the poignant film are fittingly thoughtful, although nothing new has been produced for this edition. “Something Interesting” is a 2015 making-of featurette with Christie, Sutherland, Richmond, and Scott, each of whom share insight into working with the enigmatic Roeg. “Nicolas Roeg: The Enigma of Film” is a 2015 featurette in which celebrated filmmakers Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later) and Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven, Contagion) discuss Roeg’s work and its influence on them.

Other extras include: “Looking Back,” a 2002 featurette with Roeg, Richmond, and editor Graeme Clifford (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) that explores how recurring imagery and symbolism helped to create a sense of mystery; a 2014 interview with Clifford by film historian Bobbie O’Steen, who asks thoughtful questions about the art of editing; a 2006 interview with Donaggio in which he details how his first scoring opportunity fell into his lap and the learning curve that came with it; a Q&A with Roeg hosted by film writer Paul Ryan following a 2003 screening of Don’t Look Now at London’s Ciné Lumière; and the trailer.

It’s hard to believe Don’t Look Now is 50 years old, as its themes, aesthetic, and storytelling techniques are perhaps even more potent now than in 1973. Not only could the same script be remade today, but Roeg’s careful approach is such that a studio like A24 could slap their logo on Don’t Look Now and release it exactly as-is today to great acclaim. Nothing is what it seems, indeed.

Don’t Look Now is available now on 4K Ultra HD.

The post ‘Don’t Look Now’ 4K Ultra HD Review – Nicolas Roeg’s Horror Movie Has Aged Like a Fine Wine 50 Years Later appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3783364/dont-look-now-4k-ultra-hd-review-nicolas-roegs-horror-movie-has-aged-like-a-fine-wine-50-years-later/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dont-look-now-4k-ultra-hd-review-nicolas-roegs-horror-movie-has-aged-like-a-fine-wine-50-years-later

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