Montana to survive because he’s such
a monster. But this is a warmer, wiser
version of Scarface. It’s probably my
favourite De Palma ilm.
Nick: Carlito is an absolute idiot, though.
He makes a terrible decision and he kinda
has it coming to him.
Jonathan: He has death coming to him?
Nick: He kinda does. Choose between
your girlfriend or Sean Penn
Chris: De Palma is very much
a student of Hitchcock. How
important is the Hitchcock
inluence on De Palma?
Ian: It’s really important. But it’s
not a slavish reinterpretation of
Hitchcock. He’s much more bravura
than Hitchcock, I think.
Nick: There was a famous quote from
Hitchcock when he was asked about
Obsession. He was told it’s a homage.
He went, “More like fromage.” I don’t
know how impressed the master of
suspense was about the other master
Chris: But when you go back to pure,
undistilled De Palma, which for me is
Blow Out, Dressed To Kill, Body Double,
Obsession and The Fury, those movies
are the ones where you really get the
exploration of some of his themes.
Voyeurism is one of those themes. And
we also have to say that, looking back,
perhaps his treatment of women on
screen is not great.
Ian: I remember the scene from
Carrie where apart from the shower
scene at the beginning, they’re doing
exercises on the playing ield, and the
camera tracks along them and it might
as well be wearing a dirty mac. It ogles
them in ways that is very uncomfortable.
Nick: I don’t think any director has had
so many shower scenes.
Ian: Some critics might argue he’s looking
at the mechanics of voyeurism, and he’s
deconstructing it while he’s doing it, but
it’s hard to separate those two things.
Jonathan: Exactly. How many times do
you have to do it?
Chris: Looking back, Carrie revolves
around female protagonists. Sisters
as well. But otherwise I’m struggling
to think of strong female characters.
It struck me watching Blow Out, how
much of a damsel in distress Nancy Allen
is in that movie. She exists solely to die
at the end, and that’s not what you
want. That’s not really acceptable.
The treatment of Angie Dickinson in
Dressed To Kill as well.
Nick: That was a Psycho riff.
Ian: But does that get you off
Chris: Enough squabbling, let’s vote!
CASUALTIES OF WAR (1989)
Jonathan: “An underrated Vietnam film,
possibly because it came after Platoon. It
deserved better. Good to see it re-evaluated.”
RAISING CAIN (1992)
Chris: “A glorious exercise in style that De
Palma excels at. The last shot is one of my
favourites. I’m laughing thinking about it.”
Nick: “Far more than just a riff on Vertigo,
this is a sly and elegant suspense machine,
with perhaps De Palma’s best twist.”
DRESSED TO KILL (1980)
Ian: “This might be the most De Palma-ry
of the films on the list. Voyeurism, murder,
obsession, Michael Caine in a dress...”
Nick: “I think it’s his most iconic film. It’s the
most quotable, and there are so many great
images. It’s big, brash and memorable.”
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (1996)
Jonathan: “Complex plotting with
a look and feel that belies its summer
blockbuster status. It’s a hell of a film.”
CARLITO’S WAY (1993)
Chris: “A rare Pacino mid-’90s performance
that isn’t SHOUTY, and one of the few
times the substance matches the style.”
Nick: “An excellent film. It’s all about the
bucket of blood, the score and the
greatest ending in horror movie history.”
Ian: “For me this is his best film. It’s his
most grown-up. It’s got sincerity, it’s about
filmmaking, it’s got great tracking shots.”
THE UNTOUCHABLES (1987)
Chris: “Featuring some of his
greatest set-pieces (the Odessa
Steps sequence), and most beloved
performances (Connery), this also
riffs on one of De Palma’s obsessions:
obsession itself. A worthy winner.”
THE TOP TEN
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