Blu-ray Review: SISTERS (1973)

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Sisters Review

REVIEW: SISTERS / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: BRIAN DE PALMA / SCREENPLAY: BRIAN DE PALMA, LOUISA ROSE / STARRING: MARGOT KIDDER, JENNIFER SALT, CHARLES DURNING / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

When a man meets a beautiful young model as part of a hidden-camera gameshow (Peeping Toms, which would be hosted by Keith Lemon or Paddy McGuinness if it were produced today) he’d be forgiven for thinking that his luck is in. Even more so when she invites him to spend the night with her. Sure, there’s the matter of her obsessive ex-husband and nervous (heard but unseen) sister to contend with, but that’s a fair price to pay for Margot Kidder in her prime.

Kidder isn’t the only one in fine fettle, with director Brian De Palma bringing a great sense of energy to the film. De Palma has been oft dismissed as a Hitchcock imitator, and, indeed, the cinematic icon’s influence is well felt throughout Sisters. Many of Hitch’s tricks are replicated here, from visual tics to storytelling techniques, as well as one Psycho-esque twist. That said, it works just fine as a Hitchcock homage, and its story is interesting enough to stand on its own merits.

A precursor to De Palma’s more famous films, it is occasionally a little too derivative (most twists can be worked out well in advance) but makes up for that with its story, directorial flair and entertaining performances. Kidder’s attempt at a French accent is utterly dire, but it’s hard to dislike her. Lisle Wilson is sympathetic as the nice young man unwittingly caught up in the sisters’ mess, while Jennifer Salt is fine as reporter Grace. None of them can seem to pronounce the name ‘Danielle’ right, but the occasionally shonky acting is all part of the cult charm.

As we’ve become accustomed to by now with Arrow, the film is lovingly presented in all-new High Definition with an accompanying DVD for those without Blu-ray capabilities. The package also includes some fantastic cover artwork, a collector’s booklet and informative documentary detailing De Palma’s cinematic exploits. It’s worth it for the reversible sleeve, which has creepy bug-eyed William Finley staring out at you from the case.

Sisters isn’t up there with the likes of Carrie or Blow Out, but it is one of the director’s most interesting films. Blackly funny, energetic and surreal, it’s a wonderful cult oddity from a cinematic master of the odd.

Extras: Two video essays / Interviews with Jennifer Salt, Louisa Rose and Paul Hirsch



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