Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani's follow-up to their 2009 debut Amer sets out, like its predecessor, to pay homage to the giallo thrillers of the 1970s. As in that earlier work, Forzani and Cattet pack the frame with direct allusions to Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, Mario Bava, and others from the same movement, and manage to mimic the giallo style with such verisimilitude that we could be watching a long-buried picture from that era. They even lift prerecorded music cues from the veteran composer Ennio Morricone, who worked with all three of the aforementioned filmmakers on movies such as A Lizard in a Womanís Skin, The Bird With the Crystal Plumage, and Four Flies on Grey Velvet. These are clearly hardcore fans.
As a stylistic ape, The Strange Colour of Your Bodyís Tears delivers. In addition to the swanky í70s music, we get the quintessential murderer in black gloves with a sheathed stiletto, the double-exposed images, and even the occasional use of a split screen. All of this may sound fun on a kinky, grind-house level, and it will please cult fans of 1970s Euro shockers. Others will be less than enthused; while this picture has style in spades (and to the directors' credit, a number of the visuals do carry a crisp, potent vitality), the narrative grows so incoherent and indecipherable that we could easily watch the scenes in reverse order without losing any clarity. The slim story concerns a Belgian man who returns home from a business trip to discover that the chain lock on the door to his flat has been tampered with, and that his wife is missing. A satisfactory, if routine, setup for a thriller. But from there, it's an endless parade of dream sequences and flashbacks, often spliced together in such a way that we can't tell what is occurring or who is experiencing it. We also get another prerequisite of the genre that will delight fans: hundreds of surrealistic shock cuts to gore and viscera, so incessant that they transcend†repulsion and have a strangely numbing effect. The motifs occasionally demonstrate ingenuity, as in a late-film image of a blade emerging from a woman's lips; at other times, such as repeated cuts to a vaginally shaped head wound and a black-and-white sequence of a woman being sexually tortured with a dagger, the effect is not simply exhausting but boring -- you feel that the idea bank ran dry.
Strange Colour is one of the most extreme examples to date of a movie that is all style and no substance. Those who love giallo should take note. But if you're looking for anything with characterization, depth, or story, stay far, far away; on a dramatic level, the entire enterprise is unsatisfactory.
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- Released: 2013
- Rating: NR
- Review: Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani's follow-up to their 2009 debut Amer sets out, like its predecessor, to pay homage to the giallo thrillers of the 1970s. As in that earlier work, Forzani and Cattet pack the frame with direct allusions to Dario Argento, Luci… (more)