One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest is one of the best movies I’ve seen, but I haven’t and won’t watch it again after that first time many years ago. At the time, watching it, I was demoralised at how it ended. Sure, the Indian gets away, but Randle McMurphy, the irrepressible livewire and perfectly sane inmate is destroyed. I could even start to watch again knowing how it ends.
There are movies like that. Movies that move you uncomfortably, or make you cringe, great movies even that fill you with dread.
I’ve just come from watching a movie like that. I’ve probably watched Don’t Look Now about 5 times over the years. It’s a great Nicolas Roeg movie based on a very creepy Daphne Du Maurier story, and starring one of my favourite actresses back in the day, Julie Christie, and another favourite, Donald Sutherland. I’ve read the story a few times and it always makes me recoil. I know what’s coming in the movie too, but I’m drawn in nonetheless.
They’re a couple, Christie and Sutherland. Their daughter has drowned in a backyard pond back in England. They go to Venice for work. There they meet a clairvoyant who claims to be able to see their dead daughter by their side, perfectly happy. The wife becomes obsessed by the idea. The husband less so. Soon though it dominates their thoughts and actions. In the canals of Venice and the dark labyrinthine laneways this story plays out against the background of a serial killer on the loose.
She’s a very underrated writer Du Maurier. She’s great at that creepiness, married somehow to psychological insight. This is a very human movie. You watch, you understand, you feel, you know. It just has a wicked twist, but I won’t spoil that for you.