Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Weekend viewing

Sisters (Brian De Palma, 1973)
This is apparently the beginning of De Palma's Hitchcock phase, and it's not hard to tell that he's paying tribute to Hitch with this movie, which borrows from Rear Window, Psycho and Spellbound, just to name a few off the top of my head. It's interesting that when this first came out, people tore De Palma apart for being such a slave to Hitch's style, but nowadays "Hitchcockian" is almost exclusively a positive descriptor (it's been all over reviews of Red Eye, and rightfully so). I think the difference is time. When this movie came out, Hitch was still working, so aping him seemed like more of a rip-off. Now that he's long dead, it looks more safely like homage. Viewing this movie in the present, all the Hitchcock references didn't bother me; they enhanced the experience, and of course it helps that De Palma pulls them off for the most part very well. There's an odd pacing to this movie that's also taken from Hitch but doesn't really work as well, and the ending is sort of muddled. I doubt I'll ever see a De Palma movie I love as much as Carrie, but this shows that he was really an excellent director of suspense, and not just because he slavishly copied a master.


Katie said...

So it's better than Dressed to Kill? Because they call that one Hitchcockian, but it's really just dreadful. (I suppose it IS a bit like Hitchcock at his worst, though... Frenzy comes to mind.)

I love Carrie, too, which isn't Hitchcockian at all.

Josh said...

Well, I haven't seen Dressed to Kill, so I can't really say. I did add it to my Netflix queue after watching Sisters because I wanted to see more De Palma suspense and it seemed to be well-regarded. Maybe I should reconsider.