Arrow in the Head

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Opera (1987)
 
   
 Directed by: Dario Argento
 Starring: Cristina Marsillach/Betty
Ian Charleson/Marco
Urbano Barlerini/Alan Santini
   
 
RATING

PLOT-CRUNCH:


An opera diva has an accident, which leaves the door open for her understudy to take over the role. Betty (Marsillach) is now the star of Mac Beth, but someone hiding in the trenches has an opera of his own planned out. He gets his kicks out of tying Betty up, putting needles under her eyes (so she cant close them) and murdering members of the opera company before her eyes. Yep, we got one sick puppy on our hands. Opera was never this fun.
  

THE LOWDOWN:


One of Argento’s most ambitious work. You have to admire Argento for taking a highbrow setting such as the opera and turning it into a bloodbath. For those of you who were afraid that this film wouldn't deliver the gory goods, rest assured…it’s all there. This time around Argento explores the voyeurism fetish and lets us in on it. There’s something exciting about being tied up and forced to watch grisly murders (I know, my ex girlfriend was a little messed up) and Argento transmits that sick emotion to us through his main character. All his trademarks are there : The killer with the black gloves, teasing flashbacks, animals playing a crucial part in the story (this time around it’s ravens), extremely stylish shots and he even manages to sneak in his admiration for nature in the end. Argento is an excessive director. Be it style, murders or what not. Sometimes his excessiveness gets in the way of logic.

I mean a girl who just saw someone get ripped opened with scissors would be a bit cautious. She wouldn’t let someone into her apartment after putting eye drops. She’s half blind and has no idea who walks in. Usually such inconsistencies would bother the shite out of me. But in this case, it’s Argento setting up an extensive murder/suspense sequence that has to be seen to be believed. It blew my mind and yes the rewind button came into play. Argento is a risk taker, he always tries new things. In this case, everytime the killer feels the urge to kill we see his brain inside his head pulsate…it works but it couldn’t have. Everything Argento tries to accomplish with Opera, he succeeds. This film is a clever whodunit, with creative murders and style like you’ve never seen. It’s also a slice of what goes on behind the scenes of a big opera production. Opera is a must see. Now lets hang the diva…
    

ACTING:


Cristina Marsillach (Betty) does good but in the scenes following the murders she seems a little too composed. If I had seen what she saw, I’d be a mess. Overall she comes through and may I add that she’s also gorgeous. Ian Charleson (Marco) underplays it as the director, there’s a quiet charisma about him and the camera loves him. Urbano Barberini (Santini) also does good as the police officer on the case with a small crush on Betty. The chicks will love him, good looking bloke.
 

GORE:


Oh yeah. Beautiful violence. A guy gets a knife in his neck and we see it come out inside his mouth. A girl gets cut opened with scissors (harsh scene) but my favorite is the peep hole scene…that's all I’ll say.
   

T & A:


Flashback girl’s small breasts…whatever.
   

DIRECTING:


That’s what an Argento movie is all about. Extreme close ups, lots of killer POV but he really outdoes himself with a crazy POV shot of a raven swooping down to the audience of the theatre…wow! I also liked his choice of never showing the diva, filming around her or seeing from her POV.

The lighting is also exquisite…as always.
 
   

SOUNDTRACK:


Opera music, a chilling piano score and heavy metal music. Actually that’s one thing I dislike about Argento flicks, his insertion of heavy metal tunes during murder sequences, I just don't think it works. But it's a minor detail.
   

BOTTOM LINE:


The master does it again. I hate opera music but I wasn’t perturbed once by it. The story is compelling, the actors are good, the gore plentiful and the style…god the style is beautiful. Some people had trouble with the ending but The Arrow swallowed it whole. If you’re an Argento fan you have to see this film, if you’re not….see it anyways and get initiated to the best horror director America is ignoring. Shame on them.
 

BULL'S EYE:
 
Martin Scorsese referred Cristina Marsillach to Argento.

Opera’s roots comes from an aborted attempt by Argento to direct a stage version of Rigoletto (By Puccini). Having went through conflict with Ken Russell over his weird ass version of La Boheme the previous year, the management of the opera house decided they weren’t up for another non classical version of a classic, they told Argento to take a hike. He then made Opera.

The budget for Opera was $7million.

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The Way The Arrow Points...

   
 I’d BUTCHER my family to see this again
 HANG me but I dug it a lot
 An ok way to KILL two hours
 Just sling an ARROW in my head and let me die in peace

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