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 a lot 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 takes to Duncan for Where to Begin with Giallo over on the TPUTS collective. The synopsis for the film is after witnessing 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. For my second viewing, I’ve quite a bit more versed in the sub-genre, but still not an expert by any stretch. I can see why it is considered one of writer/director Dario Argento’s best in the genre as well as one of his best overall. 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 really liked. When I can predict who the killer is halfway through it really bothers me, so I give a lot 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 most of the work to uncover who is committed this murder and why. As he does though, the killer tries to tie up loose ends which keep the two busy.
I have to say that Argento does 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 of Helga who gets images during a 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 film is the death scenes. First off, this one doesn’t have a bunch of people getting stabbed which is really a troupe for the genre. It does have some that are stabbed, but it also has creative in its deaths which is great. To go along with this, the deaths actually create clues for the two heroes to solve the case. I found that to be very interesting. Also going with the death scenes is that are very well done. They were done practically so it really looked real for the most part. I was a big fan of that as well. The cinematography is also great. Having remembered how things play out, it allowed me to focus on things like that and not so much on trying to piece things together.
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, I listen to regularly fit into the scenes of the film. The songs really stand out and helps to set the tone.
The final thing to touch on would be the acting for this film. I thought the two leads were great and play off each other well. Hemmings is the musician they mention in the synopsis. He is interesting in that he is quite sexist, which I can’t fault him too much for the time that this film was set. This bothered me even more with this second viewing. I’m really not a fan of Marcus. What I was more 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 is known for and makes me like him even more. It is quite interesting 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 round out the film very well which is exactly what they needed to do.
Now with that said, I think has become my second favorite Argento film even though it actually might be the best made from him overall. The film has quite the complex story that unfolds nicely and kept me guessing until the end. To couple with this is the acting that was really good. The film is edited well to keep it moving along and building the tension. The deaths were different and interesting. The gore of the film 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 films that have this. The score is great and fit the film very well. 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 definitely a great film in my opinion.
My Rating: 10 out of 10