For all intents and purposes, Dressed to Kill is a remake of Psycho. Both films have a lusty female lead who gets horribly murdered at the end of the first act.
Both films have a killer who has conflicting personalities. Both films have men dressing up as women. And both films are obsessed with showers. However, the quality of the films are vastly different. For the most part, besides the final dialogue with the doctor and the bland lead characters, Psycho is a masterpiece. Dressed to Killon the other hand, is not. Another way that Dressed to Kill differs from Psycho is that Psycho has an amazing beginning but then kind of runs out of steam towards the end. Dressed to Killthough, has an atrocious first act but then picks up once our heroine is murdered.
The film opens with Angie Dickinson having a long, steamy, luxurious shower while watching her husband shave. The sheer rugged masculinity of this old geezer scraping hairs off his face with a kickass macho cut throat razor turns her on.
Like that scene, everything is achingly romantic as bullshit twinkly music plays. The twist in the Carrie shower scene is that Carrie gets her period. The twist here is that a second man appears from within the steam to rape Angie.
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Is it a nightmare? Or is it a fantasy?
We immediately cut to Angie having unsatisying sex with her husband. No wonder she wants sexy steam guy to rape her. The sequence in the Metropolitan Museum of Art is much lauded in certain critical circles, but I find it profoundly silly. It may have all the typical De Palma elements - long takes, split screens, lack of dialogue, great visuals - but the actual story that it tells is laughable.
Angie hangs out in the museum, watching the world go by, when she notices a guy taking an interest in her. He looks like complete Eurotrash although we later find out that he has a very American name. Roger Moore would be envious of him. They sit there for a while like a pair of idiots until she removes her glove, accidentally revealing a huge ring.
In a hilarious moment, like Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville turning their backs on Kelly Cates, he gets up and runs off. Much nonsense follows.
The guy has my glove and has terrified me with it! I must run off! I must throw it on the floor and litter!
Oh, now the guy is in a taxi outside the Met and is beckoning me by waving the other glove out of the window! The music in the scene is hilarious.
And also having a slobbering cabbie watch it. The next scene is my favourite. After an afternoon of rigorous, Olympic-level sex, Angie decides to sneak out of bed and back to her husband. She thinks for a moment, and in split screen, remembers her panties falling to the floor.
No shit, we have a split screen of her smiling and her knickers falling off. She then decides to write a note to her one night stand, saying how much she enjoyed herself.
She comes upon a medical report. For a moment, you think that the man might be crazy. But the reveal is so, so much better. The letter says that the man has venereal disease. By this point I was beyond myself. I was laughing like a maniac. You see what happens when you have the audacity to sleep with someone else?
You see what happens when you betray your poor, condescending, selfish husband? You get the clap. This is after she suffers a withering, dirty look from a small child in an elevator. But before she can get there, she gets slashed up by a burly woman with a cut-throat razor. The killing, as per usual for De Palma, is a bloodbath. And then in a direct reference to Psychowe have a shot of a blood-stained Angie Dickinson reaching out as the elevator doors open. The timing, the acting and the staging are ridiculous.
Once Angie Dickinson is killed, the film improves somewhat. Much like the vastly superior Blow Outit develops elements of technological, surveillance thriller.
All of this stuff is great. But even this is peppered with nonsense. Nancy Allen inadvertently gains the attention of a group of black men who immediately begin intimidating her. And the scene is made even more strangely amusing by the sight of a terrified Nancy Allen being stalked from one side of the train by a group of angry black men and by being stalked on the other side by a murderous transsexual.
At one point we see Nancy Allen talking to a belligerent cop while the murderer sneaks onto the subway car in the background.
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She needs info on one of his patients so she plans to seduce him so that she can get a look in his appointment book. But despite how hokey it is, it works. And then we get the reveal that the murderer is Michael Caine dressed as a woman! Again, like Psychowe have a terrible scene where a doctor conveniently explains everything that has been going on.
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Okay then It even has the really annoying fake out ending, where it seems that the lead character has been brutally murdered but it turns out to be a paranoid dream. Thankfully lots of these ideas would coalesce into the much superior Blow Out. As if the worth of countries can be quantified and as if America would be anywhere near the top if they could. I fully believe that soldiers talk this way, but I never felt that Eastwood was being objective. I feel that he, like the American characters in the movie, feel that they are somehow above the native population.
Here the Americans are, rolling into Iraq to save everyone from themselves and their fucked up country, and what gratitude do they show? What ingrates. Chris Kyle is portrayed as a serious, committed soldier and the Iraqis are just cannon fodder. He must be stopped of course by our heroic white hat.
One of the opening scenes has our hero hunting deer with his daddy as. Nevermind that Chris has taken his first life, his daddy chides him for not looking after his gun properly. Contrast this to an equivalent scene in Last of the Mohicans where the Native American characters hunt a deer and then give thanks to it after they kill it. The film makes an attempt to acknowledge the difficulties that Chris Kyle had adjusting to civilian life. But then he discovers the joys of helping veterans. By talking to them, you say?
Of course not. He helps them by shooting big guns at target ranges. So sexy. You get it? The big, shiny six-shooter is his penis. Get it? The most jarring thing about the movie is how it ends. Kyle is happy and smiley and fully recovered and helping veterans and trying to pretend to rape his wife as a sexy cowboy when he gives a lift to a shifty looking fellow.
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A title then appears on the screen saying that the man murdered Chris Kyle. No attempt at all to depict this event or explain it. Our white hat just gets murdered. And then you have the titles. American flags flutter and thousands of people line the streets to salute the paid murderer.
It just goes to show that America is still deeply, painfully, worryingly and unabashedly in love with their frontier bullshit, their cowboy mythology and that most American of symbols: the gun. Newer Stories. Older Stories. Popular Posts The Shining. Cape Fear Body of Evidence.