Argento was already on freefall to the abyss of mediocrity when he directed this messy yet ambitious mindfuck. “Stendhal” is like a hastingly scripted TV detective story that’s just a lot rougher than the stuff shown in TV back in the 90s. There’s awful acting (Asia’s good though), even more awful dialogues, and there’s ultraviolent raping, gore and a (failed) attempt to make thoughtful arthouse horror.
A few abysmal moments of early CGI notwithstanding, this is likely Argento’s final masterpiece and his finest moment as a filmmaker. Though not without its moments of prurience, this is a provocative, serious-minded work that simply begs to be argued over. Hitchcockian, De Palma-esque, but tantalizingly outré as only Argento can be. The rape/revenge flick gone arthouse.
I am not going to pretend that part of the main appeal of THE STENDHAL SYNDROME (as with much of Argento, but magnified) involves a somewhat prurient sort of titillation. I for one am not above such pleasures, so long as they are tuned just right. But this is also a powerful film about art and rape, respectively, and in dialogue. As such it becomes about trauma and the dissolution not only of identity but of reality.
The first 2/3 is classic Argento ranking amongst his best while the final third nearly ruins it until its final trick. Dario's output since the 80's has been mediocre at best but this reps the best of those films. Asia Argento puts her soul into her portrayal with a performance that is both brave and crazy. Score by Morricone is magnificent as is the cinematography of Rotunno. Well worth another look.
Argento's surprisingly masterful use of crosscutting and serious ellipses actually touches on something unique and profound, here - about how a tormented individual experiences the world. It may also be protofeminist, with a much more convincing and frightening subtext to Afterrape than, say, I Spit On Your Grave. Will get better with repeat viewings and an open mind.
Stylish upping-the-ante of "Opera"'s pervy tie-me-up-and-watch-me, and with moments of tension (plus it has Caravaggio and Rembrandt!), but the pacing is extremely poor, the CGI is hugely unwelcome, and Asia Argento lacks the gravitas (and age) to play a top police official.
Underrated psychological thriller. It's in my opinion, Argento's last great film and bit (just a bit) better than Opera. Asia gives an emotional performance and Thomas Kretschmann is convincingly terrifying. The cinematography is actually quite striking and uses the locations well. I love the opening sequence!
I was quite impressed with Asia's performance... I agree she is too young for the role but her portrayal makes up for it. I agree with Daniel, the dungeony back streets of Rome are used really effectively to compliment what Asia's character is going through. Good flick.
Put off watching this because most of Argento's post-80s stuff has been... let's just say it hasn't been up to par. The opening scene in the museum is fantastic though, and had me expecting an unsung masterpiece. Oh but how we fall. Better than Trauma, and most of what came after (Non ho sonno, 2001, being an exception) but not without its many faults. Like many recent Dario films, bloated and rough. Durable.