CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

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: Ann Rye, Renato Scarpa, Leopoldo Trieste, Clelia Matania, Hilary Mason, Adelina Poerio, Julie Christie, David Tree, Donald Sutherland, Massimo Serato, Sharon Williams
  • Director: Nicolas Roeg
  • Screen Writer: Allan Scott, Chris Bryant
  • 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 Wish I Was Here

    Wish I Was Here

    Zach Braff writes, directs and stars in his belated second feature about a man who begins to re-examine the relationships in his life after his father falls ill

  • Film4 A Walk Among The Tombstones

    A Walk Among the Tombstones

    Ex-New York cop turned unlicensed private detective Matt Scudder (Liam Neeson) hunts down two ruthless kidnappers, who target the wives of mid-level drug dealers with ready cash

  • Film4 Neighbouring Sounds

    Neighbouring Sounds on Film4

    Life in a middle-class Brazilian neighbourhood changes upon the arrival of an independent private security firm in Kleber Mendonca Fliho's assured debut on Film4

  • Film4 Ferris Bueller's Day Off

    Wheels In Motion Season On Film4

    It's a parade of motorcycles, trains and automobiles on Film4 as the Wheels In Motion Season gets rolling

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Joe Cunningham's 10 recommendations for LFF 14

    Unfortunately I haven¿t been jet setting around the world this year to the various exciting international film festivals, but that¿s what makes the London Film Festival¿s compilation approach to progr

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Michael Leader's 11 recommendations for LFF 2014

    One of the best things about the London Film Festival¿s smorgasbord approach to programming is that, amongst the world premieres and gala screenings, there¿s an eclectic collection of exciting films o

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Interview

Share