Steven Sheehan’s review published on Letterboxd:
As the camera flits back and forth between Julie Christie, her husband Donald Sutherland and whom we presume to be their daughter and son, the seed of confusion that permeates their story already starts to grow. From that moment onwards we are left at the mercy of our own paranoia, led through almost two hours unable to place faith in anything we've seen.
It is directed by Nicholas Roeg, whose debut film Performance was a spiraling hallucinogenic onslaught on the senses. And that was just the Mick Jagger sex scene. A similar style is used here, seeming very much like his signature approach to directing, toying with the narrative and traditional structure.
Christie and Sutherland are Julie and John Baxter, temporarily working and living in Venice following the death of their young daughter. John works on churches to help restore their crumbling frameworks to former glories. His wife Julie has an encounter with two older sisters, one of whom is blind. She claims to be a psychic aware of the death they are coming to terms with and able to contact their daughter.
The longer the couple stay in Venice, the more the lines of distinction between what you believe to be the truth and what is actually happening separate. Roeg taps deep into the human psyche where the slightest glance or notion towards places or people shape our thoughts. What means something to one person, translates to a different perception somewhere.
Confusion reigns throughout the story, adapted from Daphne Du Maurier's novel. A fair amount of Italian is spoken without translation, leaving us to wonder if something vital has been missed. We are led up one path, then another, portent around every corner.
At the time there was a fair amount of controversy surrounding the voracious sex scene, that in another directors hands could easily have been a sensationalist moment. Instead, by cutting between the couples passion and flashbacks earlier as they prepared for the evening ahead, it brings out the history and affection found in a long term relationship. Not just sex with abandon but intimacy with real meaning.
It takes a deft approach to keep you so invested in a story that ultimate leaves an innumerable amount of questions. The right answers can only be found by the individual. The ones that fit into your logic and offer the comfort you seek for these characters who have suffered at the hands of their own grief.