Body Double (1984)

Brian De Palma’s films are an acquired taste. That’s especially apparent with Body Double, an uninviting experience for those unfamiliar with the director with plenty to offer those who’ve come around to his distinctive style. As a straightforward (and rather lurid) thriller, it’s somewhat unsatisfactory, hamstrung by its inherent implausibility and its leading man’s anti-charisma.…

Young Sophie Bell (2015)

Amanda Adolfsson’s Young Sophie Bell is an intimate insight into female friendship; passionate and personal, combative and competitive all at once. Sophie (Felice Jankell) – whose surname is actually Karlsson – has been best friends with Alice (Hedda Stiernstedt) since infancy. They shine together, as exemplified by the opening scene, where their vibrant pink and…

Sydney Film Festival: Phoenix (2014)

I spent so long trying to untangle the allegorical and psychological underpinning of Christian Petzold’s post-Holocaust drama, Phoenix, that it took me a while to recognise how profoundly unmoved it left me. It’s not that I couldn’t embrace its implausible premise – where a concentration camp survivor (Nina Hoss) returns to her husband (Ronald Zehrfeld)…

Enemy (2014)

Enemy (2014)

Denis Villeneuve’s collaboration with Jake Gyllenhaal has produced two films thus far: last year’s preposterously-plotted yet consistently engaging thriller, Prisoners, and now, Enemy. There aren’t a great many similarities between the two films; the former was literal and methodical while the latter is elliptical and abstract. Prisoners solidly held to genre conventions while Enemy takes…

Dressed to Kill (1980)

Brian de Palma’s work always has gigantic quotation marks about. He doesn’t tell stories; he makes “cinema.” His larger-than-life, garishly coloured style is best suited to big movies, stories of sex, violence and oversized emotions. On paper, his style seems perfectly suited to the lurid psychosexual thriller-cum-horror movie Dressed to Kill. There are some thrilling…