Dressed To Kill (1980)
Metrograph in NYC is showing a Brian De Palma series, showcasing 28 out
of his 29 full length films. Brian De Palma is one of my favorite
directors, having directed 4 films I would rate a 9 out of 10, which
include Carrie, Phantom Of The Paradise, Dressed To Kill and Body
Double. He has many other very good films, including Sisters, Scarface
and Hi Mom. He also has about 14 movies I have not seen yet, so this is
my chance to see as many of them as I can make time for, so expect to
see me reviewing all the ones I have missed or skipped due to
disinterest. Nothing I like more than rounding out the catalogue of
films I have yet to see of a particular director, especially one held in
such high esteem.
At this moment, having seen most of the De Palma films he has directed, I can truly say this one is one of my favorites, if not my favorite. It is a mix of so many things I enjoy in movies, let alone one of his movies. I have now seen this at least 5 times, and will probably continue to see it once every few years to remind myself what an amazing film it is.
The plot is your basic murder mystery with horror elements, nothing too far from what had already been done many times before. But this is one of the pinnacles of this kind of film. You have a woman who is brutally killed by a woman with a straight razor, an intelligent hooker who witnesses the crime, and a kid looking to find out who killed his Mom.
This is De Palma in his prime, 4 years after his masterpiece Carrie. The actors were spot on in this film, from Nancy Allen, his wife at the time, to Angie Dickinson, Michael Caine, Keith Gordon and Dennis Franz. I will not go into the plot, other than to say this is a horror movie that mixes in blood, humor, mystery, and sex in the mix. Do not expect this to be a kid's movie.
The directing is amazing, the shots perfect, the sets up wonderful, and it feels so well done that it is hard to believe that this was not the movie that he is most remembered for. The sets are beautiful, the soundtrack score is great, and the whole mystery thing is played very well, so you really do feel the way the characters do in the film, confused and wondering who the killer is.
9 out of 10 stars, a near perfect film, and most likely my #1 De Palms film of all time.