thatcow

One Word: Weird

This is a weird movie, in a lot of different ways. After opening credits over shots of an embryo, we continue into a game show about peeping toms, then two people in the show end up going out and spending the night together, and finally one kills the other. And that's not even the end of the first act. Then, as in Fargo, we meet our protagonist well after the main thrust of the action has been started - a neighbor who saw the killing through the windows of the apartment, who also happens to be a nosy reporter, and needs to satisfy her curiousity. Finally, we can move into the meat of the story.

The woman in the apartment, it turns out, was a Siamese Twin, separated by an operation. The movie makes intimations of one twin being good, the other evil. There's a creepy former husband who helps cover up the crime, some cops who don't find anything to investigate, and the man the reporter hires to snoop around, as well as her mother.

We have several instances of simultaneous split shots, where we see concurrent scenes running at the same time, sometimes showing the same action from different angles - much like the film Time Code, though the technique doesn't really form a central idea as in that film.

This film was made in the seventies, which makes the loud and obnoxious soundtrack not too surprising in the way it takes so much interest in producing audible pain at the same time we have visible pain on the screen. Likewise, note the poor excuse for imitation blood and split second shots to hide bad gore effects.

A psychedelic influence is here as well, as the film plays with first person concepts of perception. Overall, there's quite a bit of experimentation here. Some of it works, some of it doesn't, but it's impossible to deny that there were some ambitions at work here from Brian De Palma, still early in his career.

I like a lot of what I see in the attempt here, but there's simply too much. Some restraint should have been exercised, as the result is too fractured and lacking cohesion. Any technique will work best when it is clear, and the sheer amount of clutter in the film gets in the way.

All that said, the story is an interesting one, has a certain internal cohesion, and doesn't slip too far into mediocrity in order to find an ending. It's almost fun to a degree, and makes a decent cult/gag film to simply enjoy for the elements of unintended camp.

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