deep red | dario argento | bernardino zapponi | david hemmings | daria nicolodi | gabriele lavia | giallo | mystery | thriller | italy | macha meril | eros pagni | giuliana calandra | piero mazzinghi | glauco mauri | clara calamai | aldo bonomano | liana del balzo
Film: Deep Red (Profondo rosso)
Director: Dario Argento
Writer: Dario Argento and Bernardino Zapponi
Starring: David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi and Gabriele Lavia
This was a film that I had heard about, but never got around to seeing until it came to my local theater in a 4K restoration. I have to say that I am glad I finally saw this one, because I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m also updating this review after a second viewing for Duncan for Where to Begin with Giallo over on the TPUTS collective. Now I’ve seen this for a third time, once again at the theater. This time at the Wexner Center for the Arts.
Synopsis: after seeing the murder of a famous psychic, a musician teams up with a feisty reporter to find the killer while evading attempts on their lives by the unseen assailant bent on keeping a dark secret buried.
Now at the time of seeing this film for the first time, my viewing of giallo films is still relevantly new. Since then, I’m more versed in my viewing of this subgenre. I can see why it is considered one of writer/director Dario Argento’s best. My favorite thing about the story itself was that it kept me guessing up until the final reveal of who the blacked glove killer was in the film. We get an image in the very beginning of who the killer is, which I liked. When I can predict who the killer is halfway through it really bothers me, so I give credit to this film.
The story of the film is fun as we see the clues get discovered and unravel the story. It all starts when Helga Ulmann (Macha Méril) is having a demonstration. She sees into the mind of the person that is the killer and then she becomes the first victim. It is during this murder that Marcus Daly (David Hemmings) is a witness and tries to help. Gianna Brezzi (Daria Nicolodi) is a reporter who shows up during the investigation. Marcus does work to uncover who committed this murder and why. As he does though, the killer tries to tie up loose ends which keep the two busy.
Argento has an interesting way of presenting this story to us as well. I’ve already touched on some things with it, but we get this interesting cold open. It is taking place near Christmas, we hear a song and then screaming. There is then the psychic, Helga, who gets images during the demonstration. Marcus like in many of these isn’t a police officer, but he does lead the investigation. Gianna helps him as the reporter. We do have Supt. Calcabrini (Eros Pagni) who is a bumbling cop, which again is another troupe. I think the steps that Marcus takes to solve the case are logical and I also love we’re getting something else that Argento does a lot of with him seeing something but can’t fully remember. It is a key to the truth.
Something interesting about this are the death scenes. First off, this one doesn’t have a bunch of people getting stabbed which can be a troupe for gialli. It does have stabbings, but it also has creativity in its deaths which is great. The deaths create clues for the two heroes to solve the case. I found that to be intriguing. What also helps are the effects, which are well done. They were done practically so it looked real for the most part. I was a big fan of that as well. The cinematography is also great. That’s a hallmark of Argento films. Remembering how things play out, it allowed me to focus on things like that and not so much on trying to piece things together. It doesn’t seem like any cheats and it makes sense to me.
Another big positive for the film was the soundtrack. It was done by Goblin, which is a group that I’m a big fan of. I listen to this score when I’m writing so it was fun to see how the songs, How the selections fit into the scenes just adds atmosphere. They stand out in the best way possible.
The final thing to touch on would be the acting for this film. I thought the two leads were great and played off each other well. Hemmings is the musician they mention in the synopsis. What I found interesting is that he’s quite sexist, which I can’t fault him too much for the time that this film was set. This bothers me even with multiple watches. I’m not a fan of Marcus. What I was most impressed by was Nicolodi’s character. She is empowered and doesn’t take anything from Marcus. She is forward with him. This is something that Argento uses and makes me like him even more. It is quite fascinating to be honest as well since there’s the camp that find him misogynistic. I personally don’t find it the case, but things can be problematic. The rest of the cast rounded this out for what was needed.
In conclusion, I think has become my second favorite Argento film even though it might be the best made by him overall. This has a complex story that unfolds nicely and kept me guessing until the end. To couple with this is the acting that was good. The editing keeps this moving along and building the tension. The deaths were different and great. The gore was good and the effects were too. The blood does look more like paint and is a little too orange, but I have a soft spot for this. The score is great and helps build the atmosphere. If you are a giallo fan, I would recommend this film as this is one of the best in the genre I have seen so far. This is a great film in my opinion.
My Rating: 10 out of 10