For Reel

Dressed to Kill (1980)
October 27, 2014, 7:04 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Brian De Palma
3.5 Stars
Dressed to KillThe experience of watching Dressed to Kill can be summed up in the film’s true virtuoso sequence: a game of cat-and-mouse in the Metropolitan Museum that complicates the definitions of stalker and stalkee. A bored, sexually frustrated housewife (Angie Dickinson) sits next to a handsome, mysterious stranger on a bench and tries to get his attention by dropping her glove. When he abruptly leaves, she wonders what happened–was he offended by her visible wedding ring? She hunts him through several rooms of the museum until, somewhere along the journey, he begins following her and she grows terrified of him. De Palma’s film brings the viewer into a similar web. One is intrigued by the sexuality and the mystery and is driven to peer closer. It seems like a friendly game is being played until a climactic shot shows a group of madmen (substituting for the audience) hungrily looking down on the murder of a stripped woman. Whereas Hitchcock was plenty happy to please his voyeuristic audience, De Palma seems just as obsessed with punishing them, or at least making them feel dirty for enjoying what he puts on screen.