Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Dressed to Kill (1971)

Tom:
Dressed to Kill,1971,USA
Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Nancy Allen, Michael Caine & Angie Dickinson
''Oh Doctor, I'm so unhappy. I'm a woman trapped inside a man's body--and you're not helping me to get out! So I got a new shrink, Levy's his name, he's gonna sign the papers so I can get my operation. Oh...I borrowed your razor...and--well, you'll read all about it. Some blonde bitch saw me, but I'll get her.''

Film #18 of The December Project

I had been anxious to see 'Dressed to Kill' for quite some time now, especially after having seen Brian De Palma's 'Blow Out' twice recently and it has become one of my favorite films, I had high expectations for 'Dressed to Kill'.

The film revolves around an unknown serial killer, dressed as a tall woman wearing sunglasses, who murders an adulterous woman,but is witnessed by a woman, Know the killer is determined to hunt her down and kill her too.

Its well known fact that De Palma is heavily influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, which is within reason seeing as he is arguably the greatest filmmaker of all time, but De Palma has garnered some criticism for relying too heavily on Hitch's techniques, I have never really minded because I am a devout Hitchcock fan. It wasn't until I watched this film, that I grew tired of it, I mean its fine to borrow some things from Hitch but De Palma practically remakes 'Psycho' here! Its really incredible how much imitation is at play, from shower scenes,an unexpected killing early on,to cross dressing and even a psychiatrist explaining the events.

Its not that De Palma has made a bad film here by any means, for me its just a forgettable one, there is no way I can appreciate this film on the level that I do 'Psycho'. With that being said De Palma has created an atmospheric thriller with some really good tension, especially in the latter half.

The film features good performances all round, especially from Nancy Allen, who I really like, Michael Caine is good as usual but unfortunately doesn't get a whole lot of screen. The rest of the cast including Keith Gordon and Angie Dickinson.

'Dressed to Kill' really is not a bad film, but its just pale imitation, Imitation may be the most sincere form of flattery, but originality is even better.  

**1/2

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