Roeg

745. Don’t Look Now

In DON’T LOOK NOW, Nicholas Roeg’s spooky supernatural thriller, Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie find themselves in Venice after the death of their daughter. Amidst the narrow maze of canals and bridges—a perfect setting for getting lost and some what’s-around-the-corner anxiety—they encounter blind psychics, strange visions, and ominous warnings. I’ve seen enough Nicholas Roeg at this point to recognize his hallmarks: story told through unexpected editing and the juxtaposition of imagery. Here, that collage style of filmmaking is at its most refined, and ramps up the sense of unease that permeates the film even when nothing bad is happening. It all leads to a jarring conclusion which, very unfortunately, I had already seen a clip of years ago. Sometimes that doesn’t matter. But in this case, I think I missed out on the full impact of the film’s slowly building sense of mystery. So my advice this Halloween is if you haven’t seen this film yet, and you don’t know what happens, consider yourself lucky and see it now! Quick! Before the spoilers get to you, too! Consider yourself warned.

dontlooknow

 

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10. Walkabout

The premise of WALKABOUT is not all that unfamiliar. A white brother and sister become stranded in the Australian outback, and must rely on the guidance of a young Aborigine to survive and find their way home. It’s a coming of age film full of condemnation against modern living and a healthy measure of noble savage clichés. But that’s only on the surface. For me, what takes the film several steps further is some brilliant editing. The story is full of unlikely juxtapositions, some of them making obvious comparisons between living in nature versus the “civilized” world, while others have meanings far more abstract. For example, some of the most memorable images are closeups of the desert’s bizarre wildlife. At first they struck me as representing the perils of the landscape, but later they become a symbol of survival, of life teeming in unlikely places. Finally, with some graphic hunting scenes, the message becomes a larger one about life, death, and cruelty. WALKABOUT is a film that thoughtfully explores all of these topics, and does it with very little dialog.