Sisters

Sisters

Another Hitchcockian crime film from De Palma draped in sleaze and a sort of tabloid sensationalism, this film falls slightly too far on the side of trashy at times while indulging heavily in De Palma's favorite influences. Like Body Double, this film owes a debt to Polanski as well as Hitchcock (though the former is much more present in both). Hitchcock toyed with his share of risque or over-the-top material, flavoring his storytelling with it, but De Palma seems to go the other way, flavoring his sensationalism with tension-fraught storytelling.

The absurd premise is played mostly straight, but De Palma's sense of humor has always been darkly delivered. This is no different--even though he goes for thrills before laughs, you can still sense the amusement underneath it all. That's De Palma's strength. If you can't take his films seriously, it's okay. He's having fun making them both brutal and silly, and you should appreciate them that way. I'd go into detail, but he revels in his twists--even if they're often telegraphed badly--and I'll honor that here.

The way De Palma uses the splitscreen in this movie is so effective at times--see especially the characterizing montages early on--that I wish he would have never stopped using them. Imagine Carlito's Way with them. That neon character study would have been amazing with that sort of paralleling and unspoken backstorying.

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