Dressed to Kill (1980)

The most famous saying about Michael Jackson is “always imitated, never surpassed”, and if this saying is applied to other fields, it will also be true. Otherwise, those people would not be great. In the film industry, there are numerous examples of “imitation” or ” tribute ” to the great actors, and although there are cases of trashing the classics, there are also many successful ones who have created new ideas and established new concepts. Brian De Palma is one of them, and The Razor’s Edge is the pinnacle of his imitation of Hitchcock’s work.

In the structure and plot of the story, The Razor’s Edge follows the model of Hitchcock’s Psycho. From the use of a woman who was killed to lead the whole story, to the relatives of the deceased rather than the police to pursue the truth, and then the final mystery is uncovered, including many details of the plot are similar, which shows Palma’s worship of Hitchcock. However, Palmer is not just simply copied, in the suspense set up, camera editing, the use of montage, as well as a variety of small tricks and implied meanings also have their own unique place. The two bathroom scenes at the end of the movie as an example, the scene is horrific. Although they are both dreams, they are very authentic, one leads to the story and the other stress the topic of the film, while the two reflected each other, which is very impressive.

The most outstanding part of the whole film is the plot between the twelfth minute to the thirty-fourth minute. From walking into the gallery to being killed in the hotel elevator, Katie, a middle-aged woman, goes through the trajectory from heaven (cheating) to hell (murder). In particular, the gallery scene in which dialogue-free, Palma only use the language of the camera to show Katie’s desire and the man’s excellent flirting methods to a great extent. What is hunger and thirst, what is the desire to resist and welcome, the subtle psychological changes are really amazing.

Of course, the highlight of the film also lies in the outstanding performance of the actors. Michael Caine, known as the old butler in the Batman trilogy, plays a psychopathic psychiatrist suffering from gender identity disorder and split personality, with two characteristics, no less than those classic schizophrenics in the history of cinema; Angie Dickinson is not the leading role, but the perfect interpretation of a middle-aged woman suffering from sexual distress, especially the psychological grasp of the role is absolutely in place; And Nancy Allen brings to life a call girl who is at once optimistic and in danger, with a mixture of nerves and audacity that is unforgettable.

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