RAISING CAIN, FEMME FATALE, HI, MOM!, PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, BODY DOUBLE
"This is a piece about the Brian De Palma films you may have heard about but haven’t seen," Collider's Nick Laskin states in the introduction to his list of "5 Most Underrated Brian De Palma Movies." Laskin continues, "The under-the-radar ones, the ones that your cinephile friends have probably been bugging you about. Honestly, we could think of five more just off the top of our heads, but hey, this list is far from a bad place to start." Here are five quick pull-quotes from each of Laskin's five choices:
Raising Cain (1992)
De Palma has always known exactly what to do with the effete menace exuded by actor John Lithgow, particularly in early masterworks like Obsession and Blow Out. De Palma’s go-to tactic with Lithgow? Cast him as a bad guy, and make him as creepy as possible. In Cain, the veteran actor comes completely unglued, playing a respected psychologist who is revealed to be quite dangerous when he learns of his wife’s infidelity.
Femme Fatale (2002)
...to date, it is simultaneously one of the horniest and most elegant Hitchcock homages that this master craftsman has ever given us.
Hi, Mom! (1970)
The “Be Black, Baby!” sequence is an uncomfortable, barn-burning stunner, and almost surely one of the more purely provocative sequences that De Palma has ever committed to film.
Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
Many day-one De Palma heads have this retro oddity in their personal top five, and for good reason: from a standpoint of pure visual technique and jaw-dropping cinematic invention, Phantom can feel, as you watch it, like nothing less than one of the coolest American movies ever made.
Body Double (1984)
Body Double is, yes, vulgar, ridiculous, offensive, and pretty much every other pejorative you could think to throw at it. It’s also by far De Palma’s most under-valued work on the whole: a brutal vivisection of voyeurism, entitlement, male ego, and the pomposity of Hollywood, disguised as Dressed To Kill 2.0. Even when the movie’s heart is scurrilous and perverse, its technique is so assured as to be downright classical in its composition.