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Monday, January 4, 2016

Dressed To Kill (1980)

An unhappy housewife and mother (Angie Dickinson) vents her frustrations to her therapist (Michael Caine). But when she is brutally murdered just hours after their last session, her son (Keith Gordon) and a call girl (Nancy Allen), the only witness to the killing, attempt to track down her killer. In the hands of a lesser director, Brian De Palma's stylish and elegant thriller would be a mere exploitation film. If OBSESSION was his homage to VERTIGO, DRESSED TO KILL is his PSYCHO right down to the psychiatrist's banal explanation at the end. DTK is really about the possibilities of cinema. De Palma's (he wrote the script) narrative isn't particularly inventive but the film fairly drips with technique. In the majority of Hitchcock's films, he always had a set piece (sometimes two) which stood out. Here, the museum sequence is a corker of film making technique. No dialogue with only Pino Donaggio's superb underscore to accompany it, it runs nearly 10 minutes and is a mini movie unto itself. The film also features Angie Dickinson's best performance. Her face displays an amazing array of emotions without even uttering a word. With Dennis Franz (whose cartoonish performance is the film's only sour note), David Margulies and Susanna Clemm.

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