Martin Scorsese is clearly a better filmmaker than J. Lee Thompson (director of the 1962 original), but this film isn't significantly better than the earlier. The times allow Scorsese the ability to create scenes of great discomfort that would not have passed in 1962, but in the end Robert De Niro may be showier, but is really no more sinister than Robert Mitchum who did as much with less. Scorsese even reuses Bernard Herrmann's score (wisely), brings in Saul Bass for the title sequence (wisely), and has cameo spots for many in the original cast (happily). Good, but probably unnecessary.
A sacrilege and an abomination to the horror genre, if not cinema entire. Taking the outline of Dario Argento's 1977 horror masterpiece, director Luca Guadagnino adds an hour, removes all semblance of artistry, and inflates it with pomposity. Argento's film operated as a visually stimulating, fairy tale-nightmare, but Guadagnino operates as a predictable political allegory with little narrative cohesion. At one point Tilda Swinton muses that "(art/dance) must seek to break the nose of beauty." I profoundly disagree. Guadagnino, however, for what it's worth, seems to have succeeded.
Thank both Criterion and the movie gods for plucking this obscure Czech film from director Frantisek Vlácil out of obscurity. It owes much to Tarkovsky (ANDREI RUBLEV), a bit to Bergman (THE SEVENTH SEAL and some WILD STRAWBERRIES), and in turn Terrence Malick owes it almost everything. A hauntingly poetic, visually stunning medieval masterpiece set in the era when Christendom was replacing paganism in souls of lord and peasant alike, which has the power to remind me just how much of cinema there is yet to discover.