A great idea: your death shown on live TV. While the hints of reality programs are fun to behold the execution of this film never really sticks. What is memorable is the ending which disturbs as it is close to the actress own sad fate. Keitel start out as a cold and distant person but gets more emotional and better at the end. Schneider is unsurprising gripping from beginning to end. The lousy voiceover don’t help.
Strong cast, Romy Schneider and Harvey Keitel shine. It's worth watching for the unique dystopian feel and moody locations - so interesting to see some of 1979's Glasgow... Despite the great performances, the plot stands out in a bad way, the sci-fi element seems unnecessary, some of the ideas slightly silly to say the least. The cinematography is gorgeous, but then again the use of tracking shots feels out of place.
Despite a great cast and a great premise, Tavernier executes a failed film, particularly in the third act, so to speak. As the film wears on, the inspiration and imagination required to pull it off wanes and descends into a complete disappointment. Potential wasted. And Romy Schneider is the reason why I've given it 2 stars instead of 1.
I don't care what the movie was about (though the story is incredibly prophetic), the visuals alone are so great, I could just watch this with no sound at all. To watch an antihero go down so beautifully into chaos, I felt like him for a moment, spying on something pure.
Distinct cinema. There is a pervasive alien "otherness" - of inspired,authorial illumination I have rarely felt, maybe once with Roeg's also UK "Man who Fell". The long take where Schneider runs through a shanty town is fantastic.As is Dean Stanton, Keitel's arc from transhuman mercenary for TV to a blind, gone man (who just wanted to film every beautiful thing in the world); and what an ending; and what scenes. Gem.
Highly evocative dystopian meditation on the society of the spectacle set though in a naturalistic setting (the exterior shots are superb) with elegant touches about social dislocation in the urban shots. Finely acted by an eclectic ensemble (Schneider, as always, glows) this gem provides an astute judgment on the dignity of the person against the technological simulacra that pervade a pitiful modernity. Great!
It can't quite transcend its air of seventies curio, but with a stellar cast - Romy Schneider is as dazzling as ever - and Tavernier's flair (his Glasgow compositions are particularly impressive), I'm happy. I wonder if Cuarón saw this - similarities to Children of Men are sometimes uncanny.
Some films don't age well. More often than not it takes some time and effort to pinpoint the reason. Risking a mistake I'd say that what fails here is a dispassionate Bertolucci camera movement imitation. It takes away any emotional engagement one could have with this under-utilised plot and stiff upper lip acting.
The cinematography makes for a aesthetically pleasing experience, other than that there really isn't much to get out of this. The plot is borderline nonsensical and the screenplay feels like it was written in a foreign language, then thrown directly into google translate. Pretty rough stuff.
Tavernier's 'Death Watch' is a fascinating film that predates/predicts reality TV in a future where disease has been mostly cured causing death to be the new taboo. The 'tech' side of the film may be dated now but the story holds up surprisingly well. Casting is offbeat and that works to the film's advantage as well.
"Everything's of interest, but nothing matters." So Katherine tells the unscrupulous Vincent, wonderfully portrayed by Schneider and Stanton, respectively. To see this film now when personal autonomy, dignity and privacy are being steadily eroded was a major mindfuck, esp. when the film's future is basically now yet the aesthetic is clearly turn-of-decade bygone.
This is certainly a more convincing portrait of a future British dystopia than A Clockwork Orange. The best moments are directly derivative of Hitchcock, in particular a great unbroken tracking shot of the search for Katherine when she abandons her husband and goes on the run. Unfortunately, after that bit of excitement the film runs aground in a swamp of boring "humanism". Mean old Alfred never would have done that.