Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Horror, Mystery
  • 1973
  • 115 mins

Don't Look Now

Don't Look Now

Synopsis

Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland star as a couple who move to Venice after the death of their daughter, only to encounter forebodings of death amid its dank off-season canals

About

Architectural restoration expert John Baxter (Donald Sutherland) and his wife Laura (Julie Christie), grieving over the sudden drowning of their daughter Christine (Sharon Williams), take a working holiday in Venice. While John busies himself with his work, Christine meets up with middle-aged sisters Heather (Hilary Mason) and Wendy (Clelia Matani). Although blind, Heather claims to 'see' Christine. Furthermore, Heather claims that Christine is trying to warn the Baxters...

Certainly John's work manhandling gargoyles and climbing shaky scaffolds isn't entirely danger-free. Also, the sense of foreboding is masterfully cranked-up by the evidence of a mysterious killer working in the city and by the disorientation of premonition. Though Laura finds solace in Heather's claims, John is sceptical. He is unnerved by a wholly different experience: fleeting sightings of a small figure dressed in a red coat, much like Christine's.

Roeg's film is adapted from a short story by Daphne Du Maurier. In Du Maurier's hands, the story was a conventional, if modern, tale of the supernatural with a neat final twist. Under the direction of Roeg, it becomes a disjointed, multi-layered, totally cinematic masterpiece, each frame carefully composed, rich with ambiguity and visual themes (the recurrence of the colour red in particular).

Many of the subtle, jarring thrills come in the editing, which renders the notion of foresight explicit but still mysterious. Events from the future appear in the present in impressionistic, enigmatic and, crucially, misinterpreted flashes. But the actors are not lost or ignored in this technically complex chiller.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: David Tree, Donald Sutherland, Julie Christie, Massimo Serato, Leopoldo Trieste, Renato Scarpa, Adelina Poerio, Hilary Mason, Clelia Matania, Ann Rye, Sharon Williams
  • Director: Nicolas Roeg
  • Screen Writer: Chris Bryant, Allan Scott
  • Producer: Peter Katz
  • Photographer: Anthony Richmond
  • Composer: Pino Donnagio

In a nutshell

The performances are uniformly excellent, the ending pricks an intense fear in the audience. Perhaps the only iffy factor in the whole film is Sutherland's bouffant hairpiece.

by Daniel Etherington

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    Serena

    Romantic drama set in Depression-era North Carolina starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.

    On Film4: 3 Oct 9:00PM

  • Film4

    Destry

    Audie Murphy stars in this remake of 1939's Destry Rides Again, which is directed by the man who made that previous version, George Marshall.

    On Film4: 5 Oct 12:40PM

  • Film4

    Macbeth on Film4

    Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard star in Justin Kurzel's gripping adaptation of Macbeth, playing for the first time on Film4.

  • Film4

    Lone Survivor on Film4

    Mark Wahlberg stars in exciting military action-drama Lone Survivor, playing for the first time on Film4.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    TIFF 2016: Top Ten

    Film4.com Editor Michael Leader runs through ten standouts from the Toronto International Film Festival...   The Oath I'd already seen three of the four Film4-backed films screening in Toronto (inc

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Baltasar Kormakur on The Oath

    As his Film4-backed Icelandic thriller The Oath premieres in Toronto, director/writer/actor Baltasar Kormakur speaks with Film4.com editor Michael Leader about making films in Hollywood, returning to

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Interview

Share