Opera ★★★½

”He makes me watch.”

Taking what he had learned during his own failed attempt to stage an opera, director Dario Argento here uses an avant-garde production of Giuseppe Verdi ‘s Macbeth for a backdrop to his aria of violence, as Betty (Christina Marsillach) finds herself the centre of attention for both the opera when she takes over the lead role and a crazed killer who is determined to make her watch his acts of murder.
While logical plot may well take a seat at the rear of the theatre as style sits front and centre, which in itself isn’t a problem, what hurts Opera for me was the characters performances and the lack of anyone to vibe with, especially Marsillach, who’s on-screen actions left little to emotionally connect with but never mind, this is an Argento production and in terms of visual highlights he delivers the goods. Betty may be forced to watch in horror with needles keeping her eyes open but no such torment awaits the viewer, armed with an ever-roving and swooping camera to frame the macabre mayhem put on the screen, enter the world of traumatic past dreams and present-day bloody terror as knife and dressmakers scissors pierce flesh, and who could forget that most glorious of slo-mo deaths from the point of a bullet as opposed to the point of a black-gloved killers blade. Alongside operatic sounds you have screeching metal to silence the screams of death, set the vengeful ravens free, dig deep for that golden bracelet and when reaching that nonsensical conclusion, free the lizard as you go back to nature. While not as much of a fun watch for me as his previous movie Phenomena, nor as pleasing as his earlier hits, there is still plenty of Argento’s visual flair on display to make this well worth checking out.