28 August 2014

Dressed to Kill (1980)
105 min.
Directed by Brian De Palma.
With Michael Caine, Nancy Allen, Angie Dickinson, Keith Gordon, Dennis Franz, David Margulies, Brandon Maggart.
A stylish vehicle from Brian De Palma, this one channels Hitchcock's PSYCHO (1960), but mutates into something all its own: a truly powerhouse early '80s thriller.

Bored housewife Kate Miller (Dickinson) has an extramarital fling. But back en route to her husband finds her untimely end...at the end of a straight razor wielded by a mysterious tall blonde!

A high rent call girl namd Liz (Allen) witnesses Kate's gruesome murder.

Worried that she's now next on the killer's list, and finding no real support with the local police, Liz turns to Kate's angry son Peter (Gordon). Together, perhaps the two of them can protect Liz and find Kate's killer.

But is there more here at play than meets the eye?

Can Dickinson's psychiatrist Dr. Robert Elliott (Caine, in a masterful performance) be able to shed any insight into the dead woman's tortured final act?

A triumph of style and storytelling, with nary a misstep anywhere in sight, Dressed to Kill is one of De Palma's best efforts, second only to Carrie (1976) and followed closely by his espionage thriller Blow Out the next year.

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