coles84’s review published on Letterboxd:
A quote I read from Luca Guadagnino, the director of this film, before going to watch this was that he made the film as a cover version opposed to a remake. I am glad I read that quote before watching the movie as it stayed with me throughout and allowed me to appreciate a tribute with original touches of paint.
This is not at all a scene by scene remake of the beloved 1977 Argento classic, a film that is one of my all time favourite films but instead uses its template and creates its own path. The films lengthy run time had me worried I could be in for a pretentious ride full of pointless riddle and art for the sake of it. I thankfully found no pretension and art that was presented beautifully. There were Argento flourishes but used sparingly and helped raise a smile throughout proceedings. Some wonderful location shots and camera work in general helped this become a visual treat.
The film has a healthy helping of dance sequences and each seemed to be some of the most convincing spell crafting I have seen on camera. Each move felt deadly and like it was uttering words from the necronomicon. A convincing display of witchcraft presented in entrancing and vivid movement. The music is done by Thom Yorke, and while I am a fan of his solo work and Radiohead, it felt like it was missing something from being the essential ear beast Goblin’s pivotal score was in the original. Maybe I will pick more up from the music on a second viewing or a listen to the score outside of the movie itself.
Acting is top of the range here, Dakota Johnson is mesmerising and excellent while Tilda Swinton in her dual role showcases a totally natural ability that makes her an essential actress to watch. All others help enhance each scene and it is a lovely tribute including Jessica Harper in the movie who still looks great on screen.
The final quarter did make me smile as I could not help but think of ‘The League Of Gentlemen’ but I won’t go in to that for now. We got some nice sequences for the blood and guts fans but a bit too much CGI for me to be totally enamoured with it.
I enjoyed my time in Guadagnino’s visions and I certainly like the idea of a cover version opposed to a shot by shot remake. It will never top the Argento top of the hill classic for me but it is a fine tale of witchcraft in its own right.