Dressed to Kill (1980) 2.15/5 (2)


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Rating: The Good – 76.4
Genre: Thriller
Duration: 105 mins
Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen

When a woman is murdered after a one night stand, her son, psychiatrist, and the only witness become embroiled in an unusual game of cat and mouse. For a director who always enjoyed paying homage to Hitchcock, Dressed to Kill is arguably Brian De Palma’s greatest ode to the Maestro. A classic MacGuffin followed by the inevitable genre switch, voyeurism, a mesmerising murder sequence, and two blond female leads, Dressed to Kill is laced with touches old Hitch would’ve been proud of. Throw in some of De Palma’s penchant for deep perspective, split screen, and perfectly lit tracking sequences knitted together with precision editing and you have one seriously slick thriller on your hands. As is typical with his films, the story takes second place to the set pieces and while the story does make for a fine thriller in its own right, it’s certainly elevated by De Palma’s style.

Angie Dickinson gives a somewhat shockingly sensual but nonetheless excellent performance as the married woman searching for something else. Michael Caine is terrific as the psychiatrist while Keith Gordon adds another interesting portrayal of a slightly atypical teen to his acting catalogue. De Palma regular Nancy Allen is equally good as the prostitute who witnessed the murder and it’s nice to see her play a relatively straight character as opposed to a ditsy red-head or malevolent teen villain. Overall, Dressed to Kill is a movie fan’s delight shaped into a top notch thriller. Watch it from either point of view and you won’t be disappointed.

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