Picks and Pans Review: Dressed to Kill
Imagine Psycho as it might be conceived by the editor of a skin magazine, and you'll have some idea of what to expect from this gory whodunit about sexual hijinks and homicide in Manhattan. What raises it above the usual sub-Hitchcock riff is writer-director Brian De Palma, whose visual audacity and wicked wit were established in work like Carrie. He is, in fact, a Hitchcock disciple, and the film is both reverent spoof and sexual tease. Looking indecently gorgeous at 48, Angie Dickinson plays a frustrated wife given to propositioning her shrink (Michael Caine) as well as the occasional passing stranger. A long sequence, in which Angie picks up Ken Baker at the Metropolitan Museum and the two tear at each other in a cab en route to his apartment, can stand with the screen's most erotic moments. Nancy Allen (Mrs. De Palma) also registers a strong contribution as a wholesome hooker with an eye for art and for Angie's teenage son, nicely underplayed by Keith Gordon. No excuses can be made for De Palma's perverse fascination with slashed throats and arteries, but except for the bloodbaths, this film is the season's most dazzling, high-gloss chiller. (R)
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