Saturday, May 29, 2004

Profondo Rosso (Deep Red) VHS

I came to Deep Red having loved the style and beauty of Suspiria and Inferno, and having hated the bad acting and silly stories of Trauma and Sleepless. Deep Red is regularly listed as the best Argento film so my hopes were high.

Unfortunately the poor quality pan&scan australian 'Force Video' VHS release does the film no favours - chopping off important picture detail from the left and right and being very fuzzy and soft. At least it claims to be uncut at 105 mins.

On first viewing I was very disappointed. I could appreciate Argento's trademark stylistic flourishes (e.g. the beautiful and weird Goblin score, the slow camera pan across the killer's objects) but the story felt slow and plodding and random, and the actual murders themselves suprisingly tame. Only when the identity of the killer was revealed did all the intricate details begin to make sense.

It took a second viewing to truly understand the film. Finally the film could be appreciated - don't expect a Suspira style surreal art-film experience, Deep Red is Argento doing a straight murder-mystery, punctuated with brutal horror, and he succeeds. The performances are surprisingly good - David Hemmings and Daria Nicolodi are great, playing off each other very well in some very funny comedy sequences. Yes, comedy in a Dario Argento film!

Overall, I still can't put Deep Red in the same class as Suspiria or Deep Red, but it is leagues ahead of the atrocious Sleepless, and Argento fans will definitely find things here to enjoy.

No comments: