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Film Review: ‘Don’t Look Now’ should be heeded by viewers

movie If I had watched this “psychic thriller” in 1973, (which would have been difficult since I was born in 1974) I probably would have found it eerie and disturbing, but 30 years later, it just doesn’t have much impact.

It’s about a couple, John and Laura Baxter, whose young daughter drowns in a pond at their home. They later go to Venice, where Laura (Julie Christie) meets a psychic who tells her she has seen her daughter and that she is happy. John (Donald Sutherland) also begins to see someone resembling the daughter running around the city, so he follows her, which proves to be a very bad decision.

The movie begins interesting, then becomes boring until the end. It seems like it might have a surprising dramatic climax, but ultimately has a rather random conclusion. The film reminds me a bit of a postmodern novel structured with parallel imagery foreshadowing the second half of the book.

It is visually interesting, and if you’ve been to Venice, you might be interested in the photography for that reason. But I didn’t find the storyline intriguing, and the title didn’t seem fitting unless it was meant to warn viewers not to watch it. I do, however, remember reading a real life story about this movie that is perhaps more eerie than the actual plot.

In a book called The World’s Most Incredible Stories in the section called Life Imitating Art, the following was published: “The baby son of a couple staying in Julie Christie’s farmhouse in Wales was drowned in a shallow pond. Six years before, in the film ‘Don’t Look Now,’ Julie Christie played the mother of a child drowned in a pond. Constable Frank Podmore, who gave evidence at the inquest, bore the same name as one of the pioneers of The Society for Psychical Research, who was also found drowned in a pond.” Their source: Shropshire Star + Daily Mail, April 2; Eastern Daily Press, April 3, 1979.

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