Rewatch. My dad had a VHS bootleg of this and watching it growing up it always seemed like it 'drifted' between two or three different movies...like a dream or fugue state. It still comes across that way I think...it feels very romantic (capital R, as in Romanticism) -almost futurist- in the way it's made...like Argento's Tenebrae.
Surprisingly feminist and unsurprisingly sex-positive but of course that is all overshadowed by the demented handling of its other political issue. Ultimately though it feels like De Palma is casting us as the raving inmates on the balcony. That we're the crazy ones for so loving to watch men dress up as doctors; an insanity he is happy to indulge.
While Dressed to KIll film looks incredible - movies simply do NOT look like this anymore, and it's such a shame - the film is a narrative nightmare seeking any sign of perspective or meaning. De Palma is like an uncensored Hitchcock - but without any of his discipline, class, or intellectual density. After Angie bites the dust, good luck caring about anything that happens after. A laughable attempt at Norman Bates.
An endearingly wacky pulp-tribute to Hitchcockian thrillers, that's way more fun if you read it as commenting on (among other things) the cultural pathologies that underlie society's trans-misogyny, rather than as, uh, well, *being* trans-misogynistic. (Though, granted, that may be about as likely as the plot...) Pretty cute, and lots to play with. 3.75
I knew the film had me when after a delightful afternoon of steamy sex with a stranger, Angie Dickinson sits down to leave him a love letter: as Pino Donaggio's beautiful score swells, as the camera lingers on her sublime smile, and then—the look of horror when Angie discovers that the man she just fucked has a dozen venereal diseases! Cue laughter+gasps! Trashy, scary and contains perfect deadpan by Michael Caine.
Forget 'homage', De Palma is the world we inherited from Hitchcock. Isn't that the case with being shown a little of our nightmares? A little is never enough, and De Palma knows if our dreams look real they look something like the movies, with blood and titillation and irrepressible transgressions. I want a spin-off of Peter and Liz solving mysteries, and Allen is amazing here.