Suspiria ★★★½

More is almost more in this case. I was in the film's grip for a remarkably long time, as Guadagnino conjures up plot thread after thread and intriguing theme after theme, presented most stylishly. That style is more muted here than in his past films, the better to let sinister forces creep in steadily and so, so effectively. And it's sensational: production design darkly immersive; direction full of pans, pushes, and flashes so uneasily disorienting; performances deliciously stylized; all interspersed with set-pieces of breathtaking dance choreography and wild body horrors...

...Only to scatter most of what makes them effective away in the grand guignol climax, in which incoherence gets the best of Guadagnino, both narratively and visually. Plot threads/themes now converge or diverge with no tight internal logic of previous acts, feeling like they happen just to move the myth along nonsensically. The red filter, stuttered effect, and jagged editing just distances the supposed spectacle into pure blurred confusion, with no discernible purpose. The epilogue almost pulls me back in a bit, but by then I am too pushed out of the film, with that character just having never been fully developed, for me to feel the emotional impact from that gesture of grace. So much to treasure before the climax that it's still worth it, and I hope a lot of reading and a rewatch will change my mind more positively, but on first brush I'm disappointed on not leaving theater in the great high that the film has been building towards.

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