Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dressed to Kill (1980)

Director: Brian De Palma

Writer: Brian De Palma

Composer: Pino Donaggio

Starring: Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Keith Gordon, Dennis Franz, David Margulies, Ken Baker, Susanna Clemm, Brandon Maggart, Amalie Collier, Mary Davenport

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The Latest Fashion In Murder

Plot:  A mysterious, tall blonde woman, wearing dark sunglasses murders one of a psychiatrist's patients, and now she goes after the high-priced call girl who witnessed the murder.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

I haven't seen this since the late '80s but I remember really digging it.  What stayed with me was the mostly the style.  I LOVE how De Palma opens the picture with Pino Donaggio's lush theme (his score is fantastic, too) and Angie Dickinson masturbating in the shower that turns ugly.  What a way to start your movie.  Every picture should open with a wet and naked Angie Dickinson.  Maybe not so much now since she's into her 80s. She's perfect in this role, though.  She really nails an aging and disappointed wife.  Her scene with the stranger in the museum is outstanding and should be required viewing for anyone in film school.  We need more moments like these.  It's beautiful, mysterious and tragic.  Donaggio's music in this scene is particularly special.  Having Michael Caine in your flick only makes it better.  He's most always a lot of fun. This picture is full of nice surprises, like the one where Kate (Dickinson) finds out about her lover's, ahem, medical condition.  WOW!  And then there's the second part of the one-two punch that happens moments later. 

The only thing that really keeps this film from true greatness is the acting from Nancy Allen and Dennis Franz.  They share moments that are truly horrible and laughable.  how about their scene together at the police station halfway into the movie?  WOW!  It sounds like the first read through and it's far from polished.  Allen isn't giving nearly enough and Franz is for too much.  I really dig the transition from Dickinson's scene to Allen's. Great stuff.  And I LOVED the ending.  It'll keep you guessing to the last second before the credits roll.  This is really fun film but some of Allen & Franz's acting is too much.  I really like those two, too, like a lot but not here.  This is one of those great movies that De Palma has been riding off the success of for many years and deservedly so.

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