Saturday, March 29, 2008

Body Double (1984)

What possessed me to watch Brian DePalma's movie "Body Double" the other night I really can't say. I'm a fan of DePalma's and I do remember always laughing at his tributes to Hitchcock in his films. "Body Double" is a film that takes strongly from Hitchcock's "Vertigo" and "Rear Window", and DePalma does it brilliantly.

Roger Ebert said it best in the beginning of his review of the film that it bears repeating:

"Body Double" is an exhilarating exercise in pure filmmaking, a thriller in the Hitchcock tradition in which there's no particular point except that the hero is flawed, weak, and in terrible danger -- and we identify with him completely. The movie is so cleverly constructed, with the emphasis on visual storytelling rather than dialogue, that we are neither faster nor slower than the hero as he gradually figures out the scheme that has entrapped him. And the casting of a Hitchcockian average guy also helps.'

"Body Double" is defiantly a visual film. There isn't much dialogue, and the film uses a lot of steady-cam shots that seem to give the picture a dreamy sort of flavor. When the film opened the picture got several reviews that labeled it: "being misogynistic and glorifying violence against women ". The film failed at the box office, but now watching it again I can only say that DePalma was ahead of his time. There are so many levels to the film. Whether it’s the suspense aspect or the eroticism or the tongue-in-cheek jabs and spoofs at Hollywood and the film industry, this is a well-made film.

The criticism that DePalma got because of the film’s overt sexuality and violence seems ridiculous and dated. Compared to the level of sex and violence in today’s films; Body Double seems tame to say the least. I really enjoyed the film again, and it was a bit of a nostalgic trip back to the time where advances in new equipment such as the steady-cam were beautifully pulled off. It seems that in these days DePalma has lost his auteur status, but he really hasn't. He is still a gifted and well respected director who has a very impressive filmography.

DePalma will always be tops in my book, and looking back at his work only proves it.

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