Sunday, June 25, 2017

Death Watch (1980)

Original Title: La Mort en Direct

Director: Bertand Tavernier

Writers: David Compton, David Rayfiel, Bertrand Tavernier

Composer: Antoine Duhamel

Starring: Romy Schneider, Harvey Keitel, Harry Dean Stanton, Therese Liotard, Max von Sydow, Caroline Langrishe, William Russell, Vadim Glowna, Eva Maria Meineke, Bernhard Wicki, Freddie Boardley, Robbie Coltrane

More info: IMDb

Tagline: She's the target of every eye...including eyes only science could create.

Plot: Roddy has a camera implanted in his brain. He is then hired by a television producer to film a documentary of terminally ill Katherine, without her knowledge. His footage will then be run on the popular TV series, "Death Watch".

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

I didn't know a single thing about this going in.  If you seek it out, think of it as an art house drama with a science fiction idea.  It's got the makings of a sci-fi thriller but director Bertrand took it somewhere else.  He explores the realistic feelings the characters would have in a situation like this and he treats it with kid gloves so it's only natural that this is leisurely paced.  For some that might mean a one way ticket to snoozeville but you should give it a chance.  Bertrand plays this slow and tragic all the way to the end, without letting go of emotions.  The performances are good, specifically Keitel.  Stanton is fine, too, and it's nice to see him portraying someone more normal and laid back than his usual fare (but I really dig that stuff, too).  While it doesn't have the emotional punch everyone making this was probably going for, it's still an interesting film nonetheless.  Just don't expect as much as the premise and the opening act let on.

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