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The Hell Plaza Oktoberfest

The Hell Plaza Oktoberfest

Adam Jahnke - Main Page


1987 (2007) - Blue Underground

You can be forgiven if at first you assume that Dario Argento's Opera is going to be his take on The Phantom of the Opera. Argento would ultimately make his own version of Phantom in the late 1990s but this isn't it. Instead, Opera is an ambitious, opulent but ultimately unsatisfying horror movie that features some of Argento's most brutal sequences.

Cristina Marsillach stars as Betty, an understudy in a production of Verdi's Macbeth being mounted by a director known primarily for horror movies (played by Ian Charleson). When the lead is hit by a car, Betty gets her big break and is an instant success. But opening night, she finds herself targeted by a hooded man she recalls from childhood dreams. The stranger ties her up and tapes needles under her eyes to force her to watch as he kills and kills again.

Opera is as logic-challenged as any of Argento's worst films. The revelation of the killer is one of those moments that somehow manages to make absolutely no sense but still seem predictable. Marsillach isn't a particularly strong lead and the story quickly falls into routine. It's rescued by some of Argento's most virtuosic camerawork to date. From practically the opening scene, the camera almost never stops moving, prowling through the opera house, soaring through the air and turning every which way you can imagine. Everything about Opera screams quality, from the gorgeous production design to the rich soundtrack. It's a shame the story is such a goof.

Once again, Blue Underground has simply ported over the previous Anchor Bay release. The THX-certified disc looks and sounds top-notch, especially in 6.1 DTS-ES. The 36-minute documentary entitled Conducting Dario Argento's Opera is very good, going into candid detail about the movie's production. Other extras include trailers, an Argento bio and a music video from Claudio Simonetti's Daemonia.

While Opera begins promisingly and includes a number of moments that Argento fans will appreciate, it can't sustain its intense pace for the duration. Hampered by a weak story and a laughable coda sequence that'll have you scratching your head, Opera is recommended only for the director's most ardent admirers.

Film Rating: C+
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/A-/B-

Adam Jahnke

Adam Jahnke - Main Page
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