PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE
1974, 20th Century Fox, 92 min, USA, Dir: Brian De Palma

Director Brian De Palma’s vivid reimagining of The Phantom of the Opera is at once camp, surreal, dazzling and heartbreaking. Cutthroat record producer Swann (Paul Williams, who also wrote the fine score) steals both the music and the girl from composer Winslow Leech (William Finely). Horribly disfigured in an attempt to reclaim his artistic credit, Leech becomes the Phantom at Swan’s new rock palace, the Paradise. Jessica Harper, contributing her creamy alto, plays Leech’s love interest, and Gerrit Graham is hysterical as glitter-rock star "Beef." De Palma turns what could have been a lightweight indulgence into clever pop-culture commentary.


CARLITO’S WAY
1993, Universal, 144 min, Dir: Brian De Palma

Puerto Rican gangster Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino) gets out of jail determined to go straight, but his old associates - and an unscrupulous attorney played by a devilishly hilarious Sean Penn - have other ideas. De Palma and Pacino’s reunion following SCARFACE is another American epic, but one more tragic than comic - unlike Tony Montana, Carlito Brigante truly does have a soul to lose - as well as a woman he loves (Penelope Ann Miller) and a disco that De Palma turns into the most visually evocative nightclub this side of GILDA.


FEMME FATALE
2002, Warner Bros., 114 min, Dir: Brian de Palma

Jewel thief Laure (Rebecca Romijn) gets more than she bargained for when she tries to double-cross her partners and start a new life in this fast, funny, deliriously sexy thriller. From its classic De Palma opening set piece (an erotically charged heist set against the backdrop of the Cannes Film Festival) to its provocative playfulness with the concept of “reality” and its elegantly constructed network of visual motifs, this is one of the director’s best and most underrated films. Antonio Banderas is terrific as the photographer who alternates between nemesis and love interest over the course of Laure’s adventure.


Syndicate content