Brian De Palma scored a rare hit with his 1980 erotic thriller Dressed To Kill, which may be why for the longest time it had a reputation as one of his tawdriest and most derivative films (riffing off gialli and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho). But as with a lot of De Palma’s work, Dressed To Kill has revealed itself over time as densely layered, with a complicated perspective on modern anxiety, and a visual design that uses mirrors, windows, and split-screens to illustrate gender divides and fractured psyches. Angie Dickinson stars as a sexually frustrated upper-class housewife who runs into trouble after a casual tryst, which ends up impacting the lives of her therapist (played by Michael Caine), her technophile teenage son (Keith Gordon), and a plucky prostitute (Nancy Allen). The plot twists like crazy, as De Palma toys with the audience, using Pino Donaggio’s score and Ralf D. Bode’s roaming camera to heighten the tension and misdirect the eye. The result is a masterful film that plays to the viewers’ own desires for sex and violence in order to express what the characters are feeling. It airs on Starz’s Retroplex channel tonight at 12:30 a.m. Eastern.
December 18, 2014 Cable Pick Of The Day