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The Stendhal Syndrome (2-Disc Special Edition)
The first half of Dario Argento's heady psycho-thriller is a mesmerizing merging of dream and reality. A beautiful young Italian detective (Asia Argento, who does little to convince us she's a tough, seasoned cop) investigating a serial rapist is suddenly overwhelmed when the paintings in an art museum erupt with life. According to the film, this is "the Stendhal Syndrome," an intense and overwhelming response to art that turns the viewer mad. As Anna steps in and out of fantasy worlds like Alice through the looking glass, she's kidnapped by her quarry, who repeatedly rapes and tortures her in a dark, dank underground cave. The delirious nightmare of shattered reality becomes a sadistic, mean-spirited spectacle of murder and degradation--perpetrated on, of all people, the director's own bound and beaten daughter!--and the thriller disintegrates into a paranoid mystery of amnesia, split psyches, and shadowy phantoms. At its best this is a mesmerizing vision of madness: paintings melt into the real world while objectivity disintegrates before our eyes. But before the unexpectedly sensitive conclusion, Argento puts the viewer through a bravura but brutal series of gory murders (a slow-motion bullet passes through both cheeks of a helpless victim, and another shooting is viewed from inside the body) and unsavory violence. The poetic beauty of Phenomenon and the craftsmanship of Suspiria and Deep Red are sorely missed. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
That's why nobody else seems to have caught on to what this film is really about.;)
In all seriousness, this film is NOT a highly "visual" treat like Dario's other spectacles. This film is about how rape and violence against women can change their entire world.
If you take care to pay attention to details, the truth is evident. Asia, playing Anna, is SUPERB in her role, and shows great flexibility. The only complaint is that they DUBBED her voice (shame shame) because her voice is gorgeous (they replaced it with a rather boring one too).
The movie is basically about how it is to live in a man's world. Like I said, the details. Pay attention to them fellows. She is oppressed not just by the rapes but by men, in general.
And another thing, not many understand this part either, but the psychiatrist was not exactly who you thought he was either. Why doesn't anybody else see it?
My sister saw this film and understood it perfectly. But men look at it and all they say is "where's the gore and special effects."
Aghhhh... ::throws up her hands::
At any rate, anyone who enjoys a really taut thriller with a deeper meaning to it should watch this. But be forewarned, it is rather disturbing. And it should be, because rape is not something to be taken lightly.
The kindly psychologist assigned to her describes the title condition to her in describing what Stendhal (the pen-name of psychological novelist Marie-Henri Beyle) felt at an art musuem: "My feeling is so profound that is borders on pity. All this speaks clearly to my soul. Oh, if only I could forget it." Symptoms also include a cold sweat, nausea, anxiety, hallucinations, severe depression, and personality changes.
She returns to her home in Viterbo to recuperate from her ordeal, but the rapist tracks her down and assaults her once again. Anna deals with him in a very brutal scene, but hey, he deserved it. But has he really been defeated? And will Anna become her old self?
The Stendhal Syndrome is different from Argento's usual fare in that there are no eerie glaring backwash of red, blue, or green, or horror gore. And leave it to Dario Argento to subject his own daughter to some really nasty ordeals, even if it is only acted out. Asia's pretty in a more natural way instead of the artificial movie bimbos are. She's more a dazed, insecure victim here, but she can be tough.Read more ›
Asia Argento is beautiful but totally unbelievable as a cop on the track of a serial rapist. She's totally set up to be victimized and victimized she is. In brutal, graphic fashion. What makes these rape scenes even harder to watch is the knowledge that Dario Argento is directing his own daughter.
There are some nice visuals as Asia falls into a painting underwater to share a smooch with an odd-looking fish, and when she steps into a painting of a waterfall. In another scene, a nasty piece of graffiti rips itself from the wall. However, not enough is done with Asia's "Stendhal Syndrome"; it just doesn't come as much into play as I would have liked.
The plot becomes convoluted and doesn't make a whole lot of sense, and while this is to be expected from an Argento film, it's a little more noticable seeing as how the movie plays more straightforward than his more stylish ventures (Suspiria, Deep Red, Tenebrae).
The Troma features are ok on the DVD, including an interview with Dario Argento about Italian horror and a bunch of Troma previews. The picture is a little dark and grainy, making me wish for the crystal-clear clarity of DVD's like "Suspira".
"The Stendhal Syndrome" is not one of Dario's best work, but it's worth seeing if you're a fan. Just be warned: it's not easy to watch.
Most recent customer reviews
Blue Underground has done another great job with this highly underrated Argento movie. But let's not forget it was because of Troma that the film got any theatrical and initial... Read morePublished on Nov. 24 2007 by Ton
Troma should feel ashamed by the horrible quality of this DVD. Argento's films are usually released on Anchor Bay, who does a stellar job with the transfers. Read morePublished on April 2 2004 by Aran Johnson
CONTAINS ONE MINOR SPOILER
The Stendhal Syndrome was the second movie I saw by Dario Argento. Since then I've become a huge fan of his work. Read more
The Stendhal Syndrome is an effective, stylish thriller from horror maestro Dario Argento. The film alone would rate at least 4 (out of 5 stars)but the Troma DVD is pretty... Read morePublished on Nov. 22 2003 by The Magician
I am slightly embarrassed to admit that this is my first Dario Argento film. For anyone even remotely interested in horror movies, this admission is not an easy one. Read morePublished on July 28 2003 by Jeffrey Leach
Careful: this movie is not an easy one to watch. It's crude, violent, disturbing, sick, perverted, vicious. And yet fascinating, elegant, smart, exciting. Read morePublished on May 13 2003 by Wildenbruck
this will make you wonder about killers souls,can they enter peoples bodys after they die, why do normal people suddenly go crazy, a killing spree ...!!! this movie goes there.Published on July 10 2002 by Robert L. Christlieb
Great idea--strange reactions to art--is tossed aside and scene after scene is set up yet goes nowhere. (Why does she return home? Why does she have to be a cop? Read morePublished on June 28 2002 by Jill Stevens
It still astonishes me how often this film seems to get slated. From the first time I saw it, I have always rated it among Argento's best. Read morePublished on March 7 2002 by David Heney
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