Criterion, known the world over for producing great ultimate editions of classic films, released Nicolas Roeg’s 1973 film, ‘Don’t Look Now’ on February 15th 2015.
The film opens with a terrible tragedy: 2 children, Christine (Sharon Williams) and Johnny Baxter (Nicholas Salter) are playing separately outside. Johnny is riding his bike and Christine, wearing a red coat, is walking around a pond. In the house, John (Donald Sutherland) and Laura Baxter (Julie Christie) are looking through slides of a church in Italy that John is going to be restoring. One of the slides that John is looking at is of a stained glass window and someone dressed in a red coat that looks suspiciously like his daughter’s coat. He accidentally spills water on the slide and it causes the image to run red. A sense of foreboding causes John to get up and go outside just in time to see his son running towards him and screaming. John jumps in the pond and pulls up the little body of Christine.
Some time later, the couple are in Venice, Italy restoring the church and trying to cope with the tragedy. They go to eat and run into 2 women, Heather (Hilary Mason) and her sister Wendy (Clelia Matania) who, after a door burst open gets something in her eye and can’t find her way to the restroom. Laura gets up helps them both. In the bathroom, it is revealed that Heather is blind and psychic, and she tells Laura that she saw Christine between her and John at the table, and that she was happy.
The next day, at the church where John is working, Laura runs into Heather and Wendy again, who invite Laura back to their apartment for some tea and a seance. When Heather starts channelling Christine’s spirit, she sends a warning that John and Laura are in danger and must leave Venice. John, being the skeptic that he is, finds it absurd and ignores the warning at his own peril.
The chemistry between Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie is undeniable. They are one of the most realistic couples ever portrayed on screen. They’re going through a very rough time, but they love each other, and aren’t all “shmoopy” in every single scene like a lot of movie couples; no real couple that’s been married a good number of years is like that. The two have a sex scene together, and it is a bit clumsy and random, which lends even further to the realism of the couple.
Venice serves as a perfect location, as the water in the canals are a constant reminder (to John) of the pond where Christine drowned. Also, the film was shot in the less touristy part of Venice, where the buildings are falling apart, which is kind of a metaphor for John and Laura’s relationship: decaying, but some parts are still strong.
Criterion presents ‘Don’t Look Now’ in Blu-Ray (and DVD) with a 4K remaster, supervised by Nicolas Roeg, from the original negative. The transfer is superiorly clean, but loses absolutely none of the filmy quality. The color is sharp and vivid; the color red is almost its own character, as whenever red is on the screen, trouble isn’t far behind. The sound is crisp and clear with no audio pops, which is great because, Pino Donaggio’s wonderful score deserves to be heard in the highest quality possible.
‘Don’t Look Now’ is the definition of a slow-burn thriller with shocking ending, great editing, and excellent music and acting to keep the viewer interested long enough for the climax to hit them right in the face. Any Criterion collector, or fan of film, should have this film in their collection.
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.