Criterion has been a company that film enthusiasts have thanked the heavens for. With their often ‘Director Approved’ editions of classic and contemporary films on Blu-ray, they present films in the best possible form and often are meticulously restored and include an incredible assortment of new and archival special features and essays. New to their collection this week is Nicolas Roeg’s 1973 suspense masterpiece Don’t Look Now.
John and Laura Baxter (Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie) have just lived through the most traumatic experience of their lives, the loss of their daughter Christine in a tragic accident. While in Venice when John accepts a job restoring an ancient church, the Baxter’s meet a pair of elderly sisters, one of whom claims to be psychic. When she claims to be able to see Christine in her visions, Laura embraces the chance to connect with her daughter again while John rejects the idea despite struggling with visions of his own throughout the city.
Don’t Look Now really is a brilliant masterpiece dealing with not only an expert execution of suspense, but a genuine and intimate story of two people dealing with grief. Sutherland and Christie are both superb here and Roeg’s direction is excellent and creates a claustrophobic and haunting atmosphere that gets under your skin and refuses to leave. Venice provides an alien and very spooky backdrop to the proceedings and the story keeps viewers guessing through the entire running time. Don’t Look Now is definitely worthy of Criterion’s attentions and they have done a spectacular job providing a wonderful new transfer and an immersive collection of special features. Highly recommended.
New 4K digital restoration, approved by director Nicolas Roeg, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New conversation between editor Graeme Clifford and film writer and historian Bobbie O’Steen
“Don’t Look Now,” Looking Back, a short 2002 documentary featuring Roeg, Clifford, and cinematographer Anthony Richmond
Death in Venice, a 2006 interview with composer Pino Donaggio
Something Interesting, a new piece on the writing and making of the film, featuring recent interviews with Richmond, actors Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, and coscreenwriter Allan Scott
Nicolas Roeg: The Enigma of Film, a new piece on Roeg’s style, featuring recent interviews with filmmakers Danny Boyle and Steven Soderbergh
Q&A with Roeg from 2003 at London’s Ciné Lumière
PLUS: An essay by film critic David Thompson