It took a while, but I'm finally onboard with De Palma's delightfully perverse position on life vs. cinema. BODY DOUBLE is undoubtedly the trashiest film he has made. Now, why do we really watch movies? To comprehend life or its great mysteries? Nope. We watch to dream with our eyes open. Pure cinema is pleasure. And unlike real life, in cinema you can have it all—including Melanie Griffith. Because why the hell not.
The R-rated, post-modern pastiche of 'Rear Window'. It takes De Palma's directorial panache to evoke sympathy for the voyeuristic anti-hero. A playful satire that parodies its references as much as it reveres them. Plausibility intentionally lacking.
Dreamlike, belonging to the realm of pure cinema. De Palma is so good he even hides the key to the mystery in the title, and yet we overlook it. Like Jake, we're absorbed by all the mesmerizing information presented, always conditioned by his limited perspective. For some time nothing but pure tension seems to exist as we figure out the convoluted plot along with him; the film's style unravelling it organically.
Everything brilliant and frustrating about De Palma: the staging is outstanding, the camera hypnotic, the humor cheeky, and the story rich with contrasting ideas about identity, reality, fantasy, gender, and whether you can trust your own eyes (or your own TV screen). But then it arrives at a place that feels oddly slight, like a Vertigo rip that replaces Hitchcock's soulfulness with sarcasm and calls it a day.
I tend to like his De Palma's films that aren't tributes to Hitchcock more but this is one of his best in that category because it plays with Hitch's themes of voyeurism/obsession in ways he couldn't have done when he was making films. The extended dialogue free suspense sequences are some of BD's best.
Brian De Palma tackled ideas of perception, reality, and audience complicity in this intense lurid riff on Alfred Hitchcock about an out of work actor who accidentally witnesses a murder while spying on a beautiful neighbor. Elements of REAR WINDOW and VERTIGO inform De Palma's winking, self effacing critique of the porn industry 1980's Hollywood, where nothing is real and everything is an empty illusion.
A very worthy tribute to Rear Window and Vertigo. It's as if Hitchcock worked in the 80s, and placed a greater focus on all the more perverse themes he always flirted with in his films but never crossed all the way over to.