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Margot Kidder is Danielle, a beautiful model separated from her Siamese twin, Dominique. When a hotshot reporter (Jennifer Salt) suspects Dominique of a brutal murder, she becomes dangerously ensnared in the sisters' insidious sibling bond. 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. Criterion is proud to present Sisters in a new Special Edition.
Sisters is not Brian De Palma's first film, but in many ways it is the first Brian De Palma film, or at least the first to reveal (and revel in) his affinity with Hitchcock. A pre-Superman Margot Kidder struggles with a French-Canadian accent as an aspiring actress whose one-night stand leads to a homicidal morning-after. Jennifer Salt is a reporter with more moxie than tact or skill who sees the killing from her apartment window across the way. When the police fail to turn up any evidence of the crime, Salt investigates with a private eye (the hilariously relentless Charles Durning), uncovering the secret story of a pair of Siamese twins and a weaselly, stalker doctor. It's a mystery simmering in a stew of voyeurism, guilt, sex, and obsession. De Palma borrows from Rear Window, Psycho, and Vertigo (as well as Roman Polanski's Repulsion), and composer Bernard Herrmann quotes from his own Hitchcock scores (notably Psycho) for the unsettling music, but the result is more original than you might imagine. Laced with dark humor, inventive technique, and impressive technical precision (the split-screen sequences are breathtakingly effective), De Palma flexes his cinematic muscles with thrilling results, right down to the mordantly wry conclusion. De Palma graduated to big-budget thrillers, but this modest little production remains one of his sharpest, slyest, most engrossing films. Long available only in pallid video transfers, the Home Vision/Criterion letterboxed restoration is bright, clear, and beautiful. --Sean Axmaker
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Top Customer Reviews
The story is about a recently seperated conjoined twin who has moved to Staten Island in New York. She later falls in love with a man who she subsequently kills. A woman next door witnesses the murder through her window and tries to track down the killer.
The movie has several shots of the World Trade Center which was still under construction at the time of filming. The film's soundtrack is a very impressive electronic score performed on the Moog Synthesiser. There are several violent scenes in the film but the stage blood is very fake looking. There are some scenes that are disturbing in other ways including a woman who is forcibly put under hypnosis and scene of the same woman having a nightmare that she is one of the conjoined twins during the seperation surgery.
The poor acting of some characters is expected for a film with a budget of only $500,000 Some actors play their part well though.
The Criterion DVD has several special features including an extra essay in the liner notes on the film's music. There is also a theatrical trailer, over 200 production and publicity photos and stills, a text interview with director Brian DePalma, there is also a Life Magazine article on conjoined twins which inspired the film, and reproduction of the orginal press book.
This is one of the films which I think was not worthy of the Criterion treatment, but it is not as bad as many other films I have seen.
Sure, the movie owes more than a passing nod to Psycho (Collector's Edition) and Rear Window (Collector's Edition)specifically, but De Palma's exhilarating use of that split-screen technique as well as Margot Kidder's creepy performance add up to a genuinely frightening experience. The "peeping tom" opening is brilliant. The humor doesn't lessen the shock, but rather enhances it by keeping the audience continually caught off guard. He takes the most vulnerable and receptive of human reactions--laughter, fear, and anticipation--and pushes them to their extremes until the audience is caught up in giddy bewilderment. You don't know what the director is going to pull next, so you can't prepare yourself.
De Palma is nothing if not a visceral filmmaker, and in his comfort with the comic and the horrific, he resembles Roman Polanski more than he does Hitchcock.Read more ›
Of course there are borrowings from "Psycho" and "Rear Window" but the true genesis of this movie was from an old "Life" magazine article about Soviet siamese twins which the Criterion Collection has included as an extra on the DVD. There is a haunting photograph of the real-life twins which De Palma actually uses in the film. Margot Kidder's performance is so intense as the killer(s) that there are moments where she seems genuinely disturbed (I'm sure this was just acting, and not related to her later real-life problems. Although the resonance is kind of eerie in a Kenneth Anger sort of way.) And there are times (especially the final hypnotic flashback) when it seems like De Palma has burrowed a pipeline into your very own worst nightmares. The director remains probably the most pessimistic mainstream moviemaker America has produced in recent decades (although he has mellowed with "The Untouchables" and "Femme Fatale.") This may account for the difficulty that many moviegoers have with him. But if you remind yourself "It's only a movie" and remember that bad dreams don't last forever (and can even be good for you) you can have a really fun time with "Sisters."
What you have in "Sisters" are two French Canadian Siamese twins, Dominique and Danielle, who doctors surgically separated when the two were in their teens. Danielle works as a model and sometime television actress when she meets a guy named Phillip on the set of a "Candid Camera" type show.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
nancy drew (jennifer salt) would kill to get off of staten island and become the maverick of NYC journalism. Read morePublished on March 8 2005 by Ashley Allinson
This movie is the most balsy opaquely racist movie I've ever seen. But I'll get to that in a moment.
Margot Kidder is a bombshell in this movie. Read more
nancy drew (jennifer salt) would kill to get off of staten island and become the maverick of NYC journalism. Read morePublished on June 21 2004 by Ashley Allinson
This film has many aspects to remark. The first of them lies in the style: the film reminds to a slow english picture, in the Hitchcock of the fifties, specially The rear window... Read morePublished on June 9 2004 by Hiram Gòmez Pardo Venezuela
I couldn't take my eyes off this piece of garbage. It is so truly awful you will want to share it with friends. Read morePublished on May 22 2004
This was a great thriller about a woman that must battle her psychotic twin sister. There were some scary and some funny parts. Read morePublished on Jan. 2 2004
The pun is so obvious; this twisted movie hails many old horror films, but is not so derivative that the allusions get in the way. Read morePublished on Nov. 16 2003 by Rivkah Maccaby
It's great camp. I'll give it that.
But let's get serious, nothing holds up to Hitchcock as much as DePalma would have you compare his movie with a masterpiece like Psycho. Read more