Monday, 5 December 2011

Don't Look Now (1973) Review

Film Cover
Don’t look now is a 1973 thriller film directed by by Nicolas Roeg.The film stars Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland as a married couple whose lives become complicated after meeting two elderly sisters in Venice, one is psychic but blind and “sees” their deceased daughter, Chrissie who is trying to communicate to warn them of danger that’s about to happen.

Set in England and later to Venice the film, famous in its time for the innovative editing style and its themes. This involve flashbacks and forwards to depict the blind lady’s and John’s precognition of events as well as some on other characters. “It's the fillips, visually introduced by director Nicolas Roeg in glimpses and flashes, that make this much more than merely a well-made psycho-horror thriller.” (Variety, 1972)

The theme of red is depicted and is used to remain in our minds from the very beginning since Chrissie’s death which she wore a red coat. The use of red remains in the film, like blood and the red tile on the mosaic piece which is either hinting that the characters can’t let go of their daughter or that the spirit is trying to contact them to warn of dangers ahead or that it is used to play with the characters and the audience right until the end which to find out that “the child running around Italy” turns out to be his killer. "The one bit of colour that registers on John is that of a brilliant red parka worn by a child who, from the back, looks just like his dead daughter. The figure appears to him at night, at the end of dark alleys or fleeing from something on the other side of the canal. John also has some other hallucinations that I dare not describe without giving away the plot” (Canby, 1973) this could either represent the devil or imp or just a killer in red.
The "girl in red" but what or who does she represent?
The film contains some parts of Occult superstition, like the séance scene where they try to contact Chrissie only to be reminded beforehand that their legs shouldn’t be crossed. The most used flashback in the film is the river reflection shot of Chrissie running along the riverbank which she appears as running upside down. 
The distinctive reflection shot of Chrissie running
The film is also famous for its Hitchcockian style derived from Alfred Hitchcock’s films, which the film uses elements of dark like long dark alleyways, stylistic windows and slightly into religion like the weeping blood mosaic image which resembles to the weeping Mary statue, to create a dark theme. “Conceived in Roeg's usual imagistic style and predicated upon a series of ominous associations (water, darkness, red, shattering glass), it brings a sense of dislocation in time; an undermining of all the senses, in fact, perfectly exemplified by Sutherland's marvellous Hitchcockian walk through a dark alley where a banging shutter, a hoarse cry, a light extinguished at a window, all recur as in a dream, escalating into terror the second time round because a hint of something seen, a mere shadow, may have been the dead child.” (TM, 1973)

List of Illustrations:
Roeg, N (1973) Film Cover (online):  - (accessed on 30/11/11)

Mark (2011) The "girl in red" but what or who does she represent? (online):
Angel, R (2006) The distinctive reflection shot of Chrissie running (online):


Variety Staff (1972) Don’t look now (online):  - (accessed on 30/11/11)

Canby, V (1973) Don’t Look Now (1973) (online):

TM (1973) Don’t look now (1973) (online): - (accessed on 30/11/11)


  1. Hey Joey - just in terms of presentation, how about spacing your review out into paragraphs separating by a single line, justifying your text, and putting all your quotes into italics? This review is 'scruffier' than its content - which is good - try and imagine your reviews are an essay page and present accordingly! I know - I'm a fussy bugger! :)

  2. Hey Phil

    Sorry!! I keep forgetting in getting the quotes into Italics but all is fixed now and the previous reveiw as well! My bad!! :D