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Director Dario Argento divides the horror crowd; some love him, some hate him. Most would say that he fell off in the latter part of his career, no matter what their opinions may be. Another division regards rating his works. Which movie is Argento's Masterpiece? Is it Suspiria or Deep Red? While I love the look and feel of the former, it seems obvious to me that Deep Red finds Argento firing on all cylinders. This exquisitely painterly homage to Hitchcock, and suspense movies in general, delivers suspense, a few delicious shocks, gorgeous photography, some splashy gore, and great performances and writing. Whether this Blu-ray release is the best ever, or isn't, the movie itself can't help but be Highly Recommended.
Marc (David Hemmings) is a jazz pianist who has settled in Rome to ply his trade, conducting a combo that's too precise, in a cleverly-framed opening scene. Tossing back a few one night with his piano-playing buddy Carlo (Gabriel Lavia) one evening, the two almost witness a gory murder, setting in motion a simple plot in which Marc is both investigator and investigated. Along the way, he forms a relationship with reporter Gianna (Daria Nicolodi), while more murders occur. Will Marc find the killer before the killer finds him? Is Marc the killer? Does the mayhem even matter? As viewers who aren't familiar with the work will find, Argento is much more interested in the journey than the destination, and this, possibly his most painterly journey, is full of enough humanity and spot-on performances, that any movie fan will be happy to take the ride.
When we first meet Marc's louche buddy Carlo, slobbering on his piano in a drunken frenzy at a local bar, Argento lays all his cards on the table: if movies really are 'moving pictures' the director chooses to name-check Edward Hopper's 'Nighthawks at the Diner' and de Chirico's entire body of work in one shot. It's a tasty one-two-punch, and Argento continues to deliver throughout, even while engaging in more-base horror pleasures such as boiling faces and slashing throats.
Splashy blood aside, the movie's cold palette threatens to alienate, while the screenplay and performances anchor proceedings with healthy doses of humor and humanism. Marc and Gianna form an entirely believable, 'modern' partnership, made real by the good graces of Hemmings' and Nicolodi's acting chops. Meanwhile a slight air of menace (Is Marc the killer?) creates another layer of subtle depth in their relationship. Argento even provides some comic relief in the form of Gianna's car, a device that would seem too broad in the hands of another, less assured director, but here looks entirely like the garden-variety BS that we all must deal with in life. Ultimately, the pair rushes to a suitably sanguine, frightening conclusion.
Dario Argento's brilliant Deep Red (or Profondo Rosso which just sounds even more cool) represents the horror maestro's masterpiece. Gorgeously shot and suitably creepy, the movie simply has it all. Leads David Hemmings and Daria Nicolodi deliver excellent performances, as do the even more theatrical secondary players, while the screenplay has enough mystery, humor, and horror to satisfy almost all movie fans. Arrow Video's Blu-ray delivers a lovely presentation and enough extras to make this release Highly Recommended.
Arrow Video delivers Deep Red in two AVC encoded, 2.35:1 ratio 1080p transfers for both versions of the film Others mention that this release is basically the same as the Arrow version from 2016, which found all versions undergoing extensive restoration, though not having seen that release, I can't say for certain.
Overall the release looks fantastic, with deep, rich colors (the hot colors are very hot, the cool nicely cool). Details, especially in the foreground and middle-ground, are exceptional, and hold their own even in darker scenes, of which there are plenty. The image is almost completely damage free, while presenting tasteful film grain throughout.
Deep Red comes in the original Italian, in a nice DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track, and DTS-HD Master Audio Mono. You also get a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono audio track combining both English and Italian elements (for expurgated parts where no English tracks exist.
All tracks are fine and relatively damage free, though as per usual, syncing of dubbed audio can be a bit casual at times. The 5.1 track adds some 'oomph' and dimensionality, but might not be necessary for purists.
Arrow delivers a good slate of extras, if you don't already possess the 2016 release, the extras from which are ported over for this version. New extras include a 30-second Introduction from composer Claudio Simonetti, as well as Profondo Giallo, a spoilery 32-minute look at Argento's thematic visual motifs, by Michael Mackenzie, which can't help but deepen your appreciation of the movie.
Ported-over extras include a 12-minute Interview with Dario Argento discussing the film, as well as an Interview with Daria Nicolodi (18 minutes), an Interview with Claudio Simonetti (15 minutes), and a 15-minute Tour of Luigi Cozzi's Italian horror shop, named after the movie.
Additionally, you may enjoy the Italian Trailer, a Commentary Track with Thomas Rostock , plus the shorter Export Version of the movie, and more! (Which didn't come with our pre-release screener of the movie.)
Dario Argento's brilliant horror-giallo Deep Red (or Profondo Rosso which just sounds even more cool) represents the horror maestro's masterpiece. Gorgeously shot and suitably creepy, the movie simply has it all. Leads David Hemmings and Daria Nicolodi deliver excellent performances, as do the even more theatrical secondary players, while the screenplay has enough mystery, humor, and horror to satisfy almost all movie fans. Arrow Video's Blu-ray delivers a lovely presentation and enough extras to make this release Highly Recommended.
- Kurt Dahlke