Don't Look Now *spoilers*

Discussion in 'Movies' started by MarcoBiscotti, Oct 18, 2005.

  1. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    I surprisingly enough just saw this movie for the first time tonight. The DVD had been at the top of my want list for over a year but I'd only gotten around to picking it up this week - What an amazing film!

    Anyways, what I really want to talk about is what the hell was going on in this movie... I understood the general premise of what happened and all factors leading up, but there were so many subtle symbolic images and indirect referances of which I couldn't quitre associate the meaning that left me utterly confused.

    What do you guys think happened in this film, what did the blood on the picture slide at the beginning of the film reflect if nothing more than John's premonition that his daughter was dying? It was revisited a couple of times throughout the film in montage sequences.

    Also, can anyone please explain who "Angus" was in Catholic religion and what the meaning of that scene between Julie and the two old ladies represented? It seemed like some sort of foreshadowing but being that I do not follow religion very strictly (or at all), it was missed on me. Same with the painting of the two woman and the baby hanging on the wall (I assume Angus was the baby)?

    Also the priest working with John seemed to be shot in a foreboding manner for the most part of the film. I'm not quite sure if this was done to give the audience an overall greater sense of angst and discomfort as to how the plot was unraveling or if there was any merit to that? The two older ladies were also reflected in the same contect as we revisit their ominous laughter in several montage sequences. What role did the priest play throughout the film and what was his involvement in the buildup to the final scene?

    Finally, what was the signifigance of the dwarf? The similarities and contrast to John's daughter are obvious, but why this dwarf? There seems to be some parallel drawn with the shot of John clinging to the gargoyle figure in the church. Do you feel there is any subjective meaning or was it just shock-value and horror?

    How much of this took place in John's head?

    What do you gusy feel the overall theme of the movie was?
     
  2. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Another thing I thought of... why did John mistakenly see his wife in Venice with the two women when she was away in England? Was that some sort of premonition following his death, or perhaps at his funeral?

    Also it just dawned on me what the detective said to John while flipping through the sketches" "You notice how women come to look alike as they get older".

    Perhaps the lady was not seeing John's daughter afterall but the serial killer the whole time. When she says that she is following John to warn him, she was actually seeing this dwarf woman in the red coat. She realizes this just as John is leaving her hotel room and thats when she starts to seizure and call him back. John takes off and believes he's seeing and following his daughter or at least subconsciously sees his daughter in what he believes to be this crying child he's running after to protect. He realizes only after it's too late that he's been led into an abandoned alley and the flashbacks to the blood on the slide at the beginning of the film were actually a foreshadow of John's death at the hands of this woman in the end.

    What do you guys think, I'm still curious about all those other elements I mentioned above?


    BTW, Obviously John's daughter drowned in the first scene of the movie, but what do you think the strong focus on water was supposed to mean?

    The entire film takes place in Venice and at least 50% sees shots of the canal from angular architecture and bridges and canted angles of the side of dark alleys washing up to the steps, gondola boats, etc. It seems to be a focal point in almost every scene. Also, in the very first scene of the film, Laura asks why if the earth is round, are frozen ponds flat or something to that extent which from the moment we hear it, it seems to relate somehow to the theme of the movie.

    Of equal importance seems to be John's alcohol consumption. Almost as much as the water theme, in every other scene we see John with a glass of liquor in his hand. When the telephone rings at 2am and wakes them up, the first thing he does is poor out a glass. Before and after sex. The second they return to their hotel room after dinner. Ever chance he gets, John reaches for a glass...

    But toward sthe final climactic breakdown of the film, when John brings the old ladies home just before he's killed, the woman offers him a glass of whisky... and he turns it down in favor of water.

    What do you guys think about this?
     
  3. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Nobody has an opinion on this movie?
     
  4. Bob McLaughlin

    Bob McLaughlin Screenwriter

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    It's been a little while since I've seen this movie and your questions are very detailed, so I think some people may be reluctant to respond. Your posts might be a little intimidating to someone who hasn't seen the movie recently! You bring up some excellent questions and things to think about: the prevalence of water, or liquids in general (canals, alcohol consumption, etc.) Likely this all stemmed from the fact that his daughter drowned in the opening scene.

    I don't know that all symbols can be "explained", I think a lot is left up to the viewer's own interpretation and there isn't necessarily one correct answer. Sometimes even the director's "intent" is not the answer. I prefer to not over-analyze things, and consider the feel of a movie to be as important or even more important as the logic or story. There's a saying, you don't always remember what was said, but you remember what you felt. I think movies are good at conveying feelings and emotions and depending on each person's background, there could be a multitude of reactions to a movie.

    Basically to me the movie is a portrait of how a couple deals with grief in their own ways. Ultimately it causes the husband and wife to drift apart literally and figuratively. I think there really was a dwarf and in John's desperation to make sense of his daughter's death, he was seeing his daughter instead of the dwarf. He may also have been dead at the hands of the dwarf the entire movie, but we were seeing things through his eyes, his attempts to make sense of his daughter's death clouded his understanding of his own death. Perhaps the whole movie was a reconstruction in his mind of what had happened, and it isn't until the end that we have enough information to try to put it all together.


    Like I said, I saw this movie over a year ago and I don't remember all the details. I just remember I was very impressed with this film! Here is a very detailed review on QNetwork: http://www.qnetwork.com/?page=review&id=1001

    A key phrase in the review is this:

    "The entire story will ultimately hinge on one character's misinterpretation of an image as being rooted in the present, when in fact it is an image of the future, giving the film a weighty sense of predestination; no matter what the characters do, they are doomed to enact their futures, even if they can see them in advance."
     
  5. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Thanks for replying Bob,

    I agree that much of what is seen, and this would correspond with any film, is subjective and reliant to a large degree on what the audience choses to take from it. Afterall, film is a visual medium and the emotions and feelings stirred up through the images on screen are meaningful in different ways to each of us. But I'm sure there's more connections between much of the imagery and themes portrayed throughout this film than what the casual viewer simply takes from it. It would be difficult to go more in-depth without having recently seen the film though.

    Thanks for the link btw - unfortunately it doesn't seem to be working right now. I'm just getting a blank screen. I'd been searching for an insightful review of this movie last night but came up short. Anyways, thanks for your opinions!
     
  6. Bob McLaughlin

    Bob McLaughlin Screenwriter

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    You might want to try going through the www.rottentomatoes.com website and search for "Don't Look Now", there are several reviews and the Qnetwork review is one of them.
     
  7. Bob McLaughlin

    Bob McLaughlin Screenwriter

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  8. Don Solosan

    Don Solosan Supporting Actor

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    I haven't seen this since my college days, but I remember writing at the time that there seemed to be something significant about the way water and glass were used in the film. Water symbolized the spiritual aspect of life, and glass the physical. As I recall, Donald Sutherland's character's only concerned with the physical aspects of existence (the glass tiles they're restoring in the church, not the spirituality the place represents). Can't say more than that without watching it again...
     
  9. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    Sutherland is in complete denial of his own precog abilities. His wife welcomes those of the blind woman but her husband ridicules her for this. Sutherland is warned numerous times through his unacknowledged gift that he is in danger,(i.e. the blood stain on the slide at the beginning runs from a red hooded figure in a church, whichas he is dying, he realizes was the killer dwarf, accidentally captured in the shot
    but stubbornly ignores his intuition. There is a lot of visual symbolism in the film, much of it Catholicism-based and which I am not qualified to decipher. SIGHT AND SOUND magazine had a great feature article on this some years back - check back issue listings. ONe of my favorite dozen films of all time.
     

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