Do You Like Hitchcock? (2005)

Starring Christina Brondo, Elio Germano, Chiara Conti, Ivan Morales

Directed by Dario Argento

Giulio, a film student working on his thesis, spends most of his time at the local video store, when he’s not busy watching German expressionists or classic thrillers. One night at the store he becomes acquainted with Sasha, who turns out to live across the street from his apartment. The next day, Sasha’s mother is found dead. Giulio is convinced the murder has been inspired by the films of Alfred Hitchcock, and against his new girlfriend’s advice, decides to start his own investigation.

Do You Like Hitchcock? is the first of a series of seven made-for-television films produced by Italian television channel RAI, and the only one to be helmed by Dario Argento.

Obviously with such a title, the movie is filled with in-jokes, references and camera tricks inspired by Hitchcock; and the plot bears many similarities with Strangers on a Train and Rear Window. It also pays homage to a few other classics, such as Murnau’s Nosferatu. Unfortunately, Argento hasn’t used the idea to its full potential – the Italian master could have played more with his references and put a real twist to them rather than merely assembling elements from Hitchcock’s movies what eventually resembles a large collage. However it should be noted that this is that same quality that makes the story accessible to everyone, including those less familiar with Hitchcock’s work.

Also, too much time is spent on secondary details such as the relationship between Giulio and his mother or Giulio and his girlfriend, and the story drags somewhat along. Shown on a big screen, the format looks a bit cheap but Frederico Fasano (Scarlet Diva)’s beautiful photography largely makes up for it by making use of an amazing colour’s range, from electric blue to deep red.

Hardly a new classic, Argento’s Do You Like Hitchcock? is nevertheless an ambitious and enjoyable – if a bit slow – little movie that is set for straight-to-DVD distribution and is probably best seen on a TV screen.

2 1/2 out of 5

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Jon Condit