Film Review: ‘Don’t Look Now’ ( 1973)
The daughter of John and Laura Baxter drowns in a lake. The couple goes to Venice to come to the terms with the tragedy. John decides to devote himself to work, to renovate an old church. But he still can’t forget the tragedy that happened in the past. Married couple meet two sisters on their way with spiritual powers. They reckon that their dead daughter is trying to warn them about danger. John doesn’t believe anything they said but the prophecy is gradually becoming the truth.
The vision of Venice is very different from a romantic city of love. In Roeg’s ‘the city of love’ is unpleasant, gloomy, like a labyrinth filled up with dangerous and dark alleys. Climate of the city gives a feeling of danger and alienates the main characters, which brings the sense of uncanny. "He's [Roeg] a former cinematographer, and a genius at filling his frame with threatening forms and compositions. He uses Venice as well as she's ever been used in a movie; he shot there in late fall and an early, dark, wet winter." (Ebert 1973) There are hidden motifs in the film which are: red colour and water they are both included during the tragedy that happened at the beginning when their daughter who was wearing a red robe drowned. So throughout the film whenever we see red and water we get the feeling of danger. "Effective enough as a chiller in its own right, with Roeg of course it all goes so much deeper, acting as a labyrinthine but none the less moving and perceptive mediation on loss, love, and the indefinable nature of time itself. As if piecing together an intricate puzzle, key motifs constantly recur: the colour red, shattered glass, water, until their ultimate meaning is finally revealed to horrifying effect." (Wood 2001
The film contains a lot of hidden warning signals that are being suddenly shown in the continuous nearly monotonous story line. Scenes of reconciling the marriage bonds in the activities like going for a walk or conversations, makes the audience lose their vigilance through the lazy action in the film. But its just the calm before the storm. The middle of the film tests the audiences patience waiting in the suspense of what is going to happen. The ending scene is definitely something no one was suspecting its horrifying and gives the audiences goose bumps.
Roger Ebert (1973) Don't Look Now.- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19731220/REVIEWS/312200301 (Accessed : 20/12/11)
BBC David Wood (2001) Don't Look Now (1973). http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2001/03/05/dont_look_now_1973_review.shtml (Accessed:20/12/11)