DIRECTOR: Luca Guadagnino (call me by my name, a bigger splash)
STARRING: dakota johnson, chloe grace moretz, mia goth, and tilda swinton
REVIEWER: purdie jenkins
Young American dancer Susie Bannion arrives in 1970s Berlin to audition for the world-renowned Helena Markos Dance Co. When she vaults to the role of lead dancer, the woman she replaces breaks down and accuses the company's female directors of witchcraft. Meanwhile, an inquisitive psychotherapist and a member of the troupe uncover dark and sinister secrets as they probe the depths of the studio's hidden underground chambers.
1970s Berlin, a modern dance company, a sweet passionate American girl, an inquisitive psychotherapist and accusations of witchcraft – it all adds up for the beautifully tense Suspiria.
As a disclaimer, I’ve never seen the original Suspiria, but after seeing this remake, I feel that is isn’t required viewing, in fact it might be better to go with less information and let yourself just go on a ride. And what a ride it is, even with a lengthy running time I found myself slowly creeping more to the edge of my seat, each character and story arc layer building tension over a few hours. The pace is a little slow to start, so you may have to exercise some patience, but that abject finale is something that will stick with you long after you leave the cinema.
The constant tension comes at you from all angles. The powerful modern dance, the mysterious intentions of the company director, the looming sense of doom over the dancers, and in the background you have the dreary Berlin wall standing tall, radio and television broadcasts of the Cold War, bomb threats and terrorism.
Dakota Johnson’s hard work has paid off, she is beautiful to watch during the dance sequences as her limbs fling back and forth. She is surrounded by a stellar cast who are mesmerising in both their dance and expressions. Tilda Swinton, as always is a beautiful mystery, her grace controls her scenes and everyone always seems two steps behind her.
It seems that Suspiria is another film to add to the 2018 Year of Women collection. Justifiably pissed off women are increasingly featured in cinema. It will be interesting to see how is audience reads Suspiria’s feminine power as a cautionary tale or something inspiring.
Suspiria is perfect if you felt that Black Swan didn’t quite scratch your dance/thriller itch.