Violet keeps her wedding dress hung over the only mirror in her bedroom, looking at the dress rather than at herself in the mirror. The dress is one of the many signs that, for Violet and her sisters, Juliette and Antoinette, time stopped somewhere in the late 60s, when they each lost so much.
As a representation of colonial Sierra Leone, where the whole story takes place, it isn't especially illuminating...except of course for the marked absence of black characters or local events impinging on the plot in any way. If you're not much interested in colonialism, it's a wonderful film.
Takashi Miike has a great eye, and he constructs breathtakingly beautiful mise-en-scènes. "Over Your Dead Body" is no exception: It's gorgeous. Of course, the other thing Miike is known for is gore, often sexual in nature. "Over Your Dead Body" is also no exception in this regard.
The AFI schedule advertised it a "horror comedy art film," like "a 'Friday the 13th' installment directed by Alain Resnais." While that is one of the finest descriptions I have ever come across, I suspect that it did the film a disservice by attracting people who were expecting more "Friday the 13th" and less Resnais.
Lang is a master of mood and lighting (assisted by some fantastic cinematographers), and this carries "Secret." It doesn’t hurt that it stars Joan Bennett (a sometime Lang favorite) and Michael Redgrave, but the plot is so goofily Freudian that if Bennett and Redgrave weren’t adrift in Lang’s parallel universe, it probably wouldn’t work.
This is going to sound like I’m ruining the plot for you, but what I’m about to describe is really only the beginning of what is a very long, very bad day for the corrupt Detective Ko, so trust me and read on.
Alléluia was riveting in a demanding sort of way—so much so that the film sometimes felt like mostly a tight close-up on Dueñas's Gloria, sometimes just her eyes. (Though there was of course less of that than it seemed like there was.) It's based on the same story, the Martha Beck-Ray Fernandez murders, as the pulpy The Honeymoon Killers (1969).
Lang's protagonists are often less involved in a plot than they are trapped in a psychologically overwrought context, an atmosphere rather than a real place. Even before we know what sort of trouble Neale will get himself in, there is an unnerving emphasis on the passing of time. The film opens on a clock.