A scary and stylish paean to female destructiveness, De Palma’s first foray into horror voyeurism is a stunning amalgam of split-screen effects, bloody birthday cakes, and a chilling score by frequent Hitchcock collaborator Bernard Herrmann.
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De Palma’s obsessive use of doubles starts with the title (familial bonds, “right on!” feminism) and extends to the film itself with bifurcated frames, parallel montage (a birthday endearment scrawled letter by letter on a cake while the medicated heroine writhes on the bathroom floor) and, finally, the split-screen of a stabbed camera.
SISTERS is no insular work, pillaging all its best ideas from Hollywood’s graying masters, but a living, beating, furious wasp’s nest of a work, stable at a distance, but ready to explode with the slightest touch.
Though De Palma’s own images can’t rival Hitchcock’s in shot-by-shot psychological power, the intricate multiple-perspective split-screen sequences of “Sisters” offer a dense and elaborate counterpoint that conjures a sense of psychological dislocation and information overload belonging to De Palma’s own generation and times. De Palma’s cinephilic devotion… is conflicted and cautionary—he sees movies as a source of hidden truths that risk becoming traps and delusions.
2,5 Watched it too long ago to make full sense of, but more vividly than before was I aware over the last few weeks of grinning stars' impatient rat-a-tat-tat on earth's domed windowpanes and Gemini's (j)ocular ring-a-rosy, when at the hospital I work at 4 pairs of twins and one set of triplet girls landed in a row. I was about to see The Triplets of Belleville to celebrate the coincidence, but then this flick turned
I'm trying to develop an appreciation for DePalma, really I am. I like a couple of his films, even tho they're pretty cheezy. But this is a 70's slasher film with bloody butcher's knives. And the Bernard Hermann "crazy music" is quite cheezy, too. An extra star for a creative ending tho.
An incredible thriller & De Palma's first riff on the proverbial 'Hitchcock film'. It's an incredibly skillful movie; made all the more impressive considering De Palma made it on a small budget and it doesn't show. Psychologically rich and complete with a feminist and anti-patriarchal message, Sisters is one of De Palma's first great films. And that ending...
I think of GREETINGS and HI, MOM! as falling-apart crazy-glued anarchist masterpieces and SISTERS as a transitional work that gives away a great deal about the secret congruence of De Palma's two phases. As Hitchcock becomes important, naturally form also becomes important. When form becomes important, De Palma becomes a new intelligence. A slightly different form of ruthlessness, but he's still basically naughty.
Being part of the post-modern movement allowed De Palma to mix Hitchcock's best trademark's (bets-off suspense/dark humor/narrative and emotional hook/intriguing-but-flawed characters) to odd proportions. Both understood that once they have your emotions with these elements, they can take their plot off-the-rails. De Palma isn't as narrowly-focused and conservative as Hitch, uniquely suiting the material.
My second De Palma experience and I must say I'm even more impressed than I was before. An incredibly well put together, cinematically fascinating satirical thriller. I have to say I enjoyed this more than Dressed to Kill. The story was very engaging, the humor was well placed and style was awesome.
With the valuable support of Bernard Herrmann in a terrifying score and Paul Hirsch superb editing, De Palma accurately exploits Hitchcockian themes for the first time, and even creates his most dazzling split-screen scene ever.