Sunday, 25 August 2013
Body Double 
If anyone ever had any doubts or misgivings about Brian De Palma’s love for Hitchcock’s oeuvre, Body Double is enough to put it to rest. This was a direct homage to not one but two Hitchcock classics, viz. Rear Window and Vertigo, albeit liberally adulterated with his own personal dose of sleaze, plot convolutions and world-view. The result was a grotesque, provocative, and interesting in parts, but otherwise inconsistent film that attempted tackling too many things to its own detriment; and not to forget, it created quite a scandal among the moralists and conservatives upon its release. Jake (Craig Wasson) is a struggling actor in schlock films. When his affliction with claustrophobia costs him his job, and simultaneously the shock of finding his girlfriend in bed with another guy leaves him homeless, a seemingly amiable stranger (Gregg Henry) offers him a luxurious place to stay, with the added bonus of being able to peep on a beautiful neighbor (Deborah Shelton) while she undresses, using a telescope. He becomes obsessed with her and eventually ends up witnessing her murder. However, when he meets a cute porn star (Melanie Griffith) who bears a striking resemblance to the slain lady, he realizes that he might just have been set up. The labyrinthine storyline veered on the verge of absurd on account of a number of rather implausible plot developments and heavy reliance on coincidences; but narratively it was engaging and the visual style interesting. Griffith was particularly memorable on account of the vulnerability she brought into her character – the scene where she spells out what she does and doesn’t do, was easily the film’s best moment.
Director: Brian De Palma
Genre: Thriller/Psychological Thriller/Post-Noir/Mystery