Friday, November 2, 2018

‘Suspiria’ Review: A Dark, Inpenetrable Masterpiece

I suspect this review to be quite short. Despite the number of great films that have come out and continue to come out, I can’t help but feel that sometimes the people have forgotten how vast and exploratory filmmaking can be. The combination of moving images and sound can be trance-like, and completely transportative. Suspiria is one such film.

A remake of the 1977 Dario Argento film, the 2018 version of the film is helmed by director Luca Guadagnino, who found widespread acclaim last year for his film Call Me by Your Name. With Suspiria, Guadagnino proves that he may be one of the most versatile filmmakers working today. Gone are the warm and sultry tones of the Italian countryside that he found with Call Me by Your Name. Long live dulled palette of 70’s Berlin, and the blood soaked dance academy within.

This new Suspiria borrows a base premise and some names, and little more. The film centers around a dance studio in Berlin in the 70’s, and the women that practice there. But it is all a front, because the students and teachers of the academy are a coven of witches.

And that is about all I can, or am willing to offer up about the plot of Suspiria. Partly because this film is a full-body experience that you deserve to see for yourself. And partly because, even after a day to process it, I’m not sure I could competently describe half the things that happen within the film.

What I can vouch for is the film’s lead, Dakota Johnson. In the same year that her final 50 Shades film came out, a series which has been largely scoffed at, Johnson has already completely turned around her public image. Her small role in the criminally under seen Bad Times at the El Royale just earlier in October was a great one. And with Suspiria, she proves that she’s willing and ready to prove to us that she is one of the most interesting and multifaceted actors working today. She commands your attention in every frame of this film. We are as entranced with her as her character Susie is with the dance troupe that she joins.

That’s about all I can offer to you at this point. I believe I could watch this film 5 or 10 more times and still not better articulate how great and invigorating Suspiria is. There’s no Rosetta Stone for this one; it could, and will, mean a million different things to a million different people. Like me, you could love it wholeheartedly. You could hate it. But I would say that it is physically impossible to come away from Suspiria without some sort of powerful reaction. It sears its images into your brain, for better or worse, and is utterly unforgettable.

I give Suspiria a 5 out of 5. It’s in theaters now.