A remake of the 1958 classic gets a 70s update.
The premise is the same but the reasons behind it are different. It seems like each incarnation of this film reflects the unrest of each society it was made in.
This film depicts the 70s swing towards pop-psychology and psychiatry that was popular at the time. The psychiatrist characters played by Leonard Nimoy and Jeff Goldbloom brilliantly convey this angle.
But the film also shows American society and its people in disarray. Post-Watergate and post-Vietnam politics and the related disillusionment fuel the characters and general feel of this film. No one knows who to trust, what the truth is or who/what to believe in anymore.
Paranoia is also a key component in this movie. This makes the film a very intense watch and quite exhausting at times. Whilst I love this film its a movie I have to be in the mood to watch. It seems like tiny nuances and interactions that characters would normally take for granted are given thought time, credence and then magnified. An example is when Brooke Adams character is bumped into. There is then a sequence in which Adams and this character are walking away from each other down a corridor but take turns to look at each other over their shoulders.
There is also a sequence where Adams is walking around San Francisco and passes a bust city bus. Every single passenger is looking right at her. Is the camera capturing reality or the internal and paranoid thoughts of Ms Adams?
The paranoia and suspicion escalates until we get to one of the most famous unsettling endings in movie history.
Brilliantly acted, written and directed. This really is a prime slice of time capsule filmmaking then is strangely as relevant today as it was in the 70s. This is also one of the best San Francisco movies ever made. The city looks amazing and provides a gorgeous backdrop to the film’s events. Added kudos for the mud baths locale.
Look out for the cameo by Robert Duvall as a priest on a swing and the man-dog that suddenly appears who is a weird fusion of a banjo playing character and his dog earlier in the film.
4 out of 5.