Jake Scully comes home to find his girlfriend with another man and has to find a new place. In between his acting workshops and his job in a vampire B-movie, he scans the paper looking for anything. He happens to meet Sam Bouchard, a fellow actor who needs a house sitter. Both are pleased with the arrangement that will have Jake staying in the house and for a sweetener, Sam shows him his favorite neighbor, a well-built woman who strips with her window open each night. Jake becomes obsessed with meeting her and is able to help recover her purse from a thief, but shows his own phobia, he is incapacitated by claustrophobia when the thief runs through a tunnel. When Jake witnesses a murder, he finds out that the police love to pin crimes on peeping Toms. Jake discovers that here are just too many coincidences but must hunt them down himself without the police.Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
UK video versions were cut by 5 secs to remove Holly's refusal to 'shave my pussy', 'fist fucking' and 'coming in my face', and to fade out the final shot of a woman's bloodstained breasts. The cuts were fully waived in 2000. See more »
I was introduced to Brian De Palma at the rather tender age of 7, when I watched The Untouchables with my parents. My friend Nicky and I enjoyed it immensely and found the rousing tale of Elliot Ness et al. an absolutely brilliant cop v. robber/adventure movie. Until Tim Burton released Batman in 1989, Untouchables was our game of choice and we would re-enact the entire movie in my back yard after school.
But I'm supposed to be talking about Body Double... To make a long story short, since I was 7, I didn't know who Brian De Palma was, nor did I really care, so I went about my cinephillic youth without completely immersing myself in his oeuvre. I caught bits and pieces of it, encountering Scarface as a fourteen-year-old and finding it laughable, watching Sisters with (how apropos) my sister before I went off to college and finding it intriguing, and finally seeing Femme Fatale when it was released a couple years ago and thinking it amazing.
So, as you can see, I grew into De Palma and, since watching Femme Fatale, I've gone back and watched many of his films (even Phantom of the Paradise, which was an epiphany - go see it immediately). I re-watched Scarface, Carrie, Blow-out, Wise Guys, the Untouchables, etc. and then this week I saw Body Double at the video store. The cover art, which is horrible, drew me in. I said, Jason, that cover art is so tacky and the movie is called Body Double, it must be awful. Flipping the case over, what should I find? De Palma.
Oh my. I scooped it up then and there, went home, and popped it in the player. How had I not heard of this film? Probably because 2/3 of the natural world finds it a trashy piece of filth. I find it brilliant.
It is your typical De Palma suspense thriller. Riffs on Hitchcock, beautifully fluid camera movements, sexual 'dysfunction,' an exploration of voyeurism, Hollywood satire, a convoluted and endearingly unbelievable story...
So why watch it? Because unlike most movies Body Double cannot seem to take itself too seriously. Body Double moves forward with a straight face but, as evidenced by the Frankie Goes to Hollywood video somehow slipped into this film and an awful rubber mask, De Palma's tongue is so firmly in his cheek it's liable to break through the skin. Could a film that's credits hearken back to the EC Comics font really intend to be taken seriously? No. Oh, and for you scenesters out there, QT may have found inspiration for his first film's title in Body Double's final scene which, you guessed it, contains both a reservoir and dogs.
And yet, although the movie on some level parodies the preposterous suspense thrillers of yore, it also never condescends to them. De Palma directs this movie with such glee and exuberance, that you know he loves those types of movies (well, I mean if Phantom of the Paradise, Sisters, and Dressed to Kill hadn't let the cat out of the bag already).
Anyway, if you enjoy maverick directors unafraid of genre-pictures, fun, and enormous drills, this is a movie for you. However, if you like Lars Von Trier or other such beings who take themselves and their art far too seriously at times, go elsewhere.
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