Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Body Double (1984)

I have a love-hate relationship with Brian De Palma. He has undeniably established himself as being one of the most prolific Horror directors of his time, but he has done so by riding on other filmmaker's coattails and using form over function. The technical aspects of BODY DOUBLE are clearly above average, with uniquely framed shots, extended camera movements, and engaging set designs. The problem is that none of that means anything when your film is an uninteresting knockoff homage to a far superior film. We find a failing actor house sitting a luxurious bungalow while the owner is on vacation. The plot thickens as he begins spying on a sexy neighbor through a conveniently placed telescope. One night, his new obsession is killed by a disfigured stranger, and he is thrust into a game of murder, money, and betrayal. Unlike Jimmy Stuart's character in REAR WINDOW, the lead here garners no empathy or respect, as he is just an awkward, mopey failure. The cleverly placed clues throughout the script do manage to piece together a decent mystery, but they are all too contrived and leave the audience with little to no suspense. In the end, the film is an over-stylized and distracting take on the voyeuristic theme that was perfected by Hitchcock and Powell. Fans of De Palma's knack for flair and flashy camera work may find more to like here, but I am not a fan of the film and typically do not recommend it.

Rating: 7/10.
Entertainment: 6/10.
Number of views: 2.



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2 comments:

  1. I agree with you on this one. Did not even live up to the hype. Maybe I was just having a bad day? :)

    Cheers!

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  2. Thats whats nice about being part of the younger generation that is discovering the older films for the first time, many of the Hammer films and classics I only recognize by name, but I have no idea how popular they were or in many cases how groundbreaking they were within the specific social context of the time.

    I wouldnt have even guessed there was any hype behind BODY DOUBLE when it came out, because now it seems completely forgettable. Going into it as a blind buy based on the fact that it was directed by De Palma gave me a chance to view and review with an unbiased opinion on the film.

    Id be interested in hearing the opinions of De Palma fans and fans of the film to see what we missed!

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