Images (1972)

images

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 8 out of 10

4-Word Review: Demons of the mind.

This is the missing link for any Robert Altman fan or detractor as this is different from any of his other films and completely original from beginning to end. Not only was it way ahead of its time, but proves that he is deftly skilled at handling any directorial task or material.

The story involves a tormented and emotionally fragile woman named Cathryn (Susannah York) who starts to see strange visions. These visions seem so real that she can no longer tell if they are all just inside her head and decides the only way to get rid of them is to mentally ‘kill’ them, but this in turn only leads to further complications.

What really makes this a unique film is that you get inside this woman’s head and actually start to understand her logic and experience her torment. The film also makes terrific use of silence and uses it to accentuate the isolation that the character feels. The setting has a sort of surreal quality and the location of the house is impressively remote.

York has a knack for playing victimized and vulnerable women. In many ways her role here seems like an extension of her character from The Killing of Sister George. Although she makes you sympathetic to her predicament her screams are too screechy and fail to attain the shrillness that would create the startling effect that the filmmakers desired.

The real star may actually be Vilmos Zsigmond and his cinematography. His framing and composition is not only flawless, but breathtaking. He makes the wintertime Irish countryside look like a whole different world and the stillness of the lake that is shown seems almost unreal.

There are a few too many obvious and clichéd shots of mirrors and puzzles and it could also gone much further with its unusual premise. Still this is a unique and entertaining movie that should keep you guessing all the way to the end. The pace is slow, but deliberate with a payoff that is worth it.

My Rating: 8 out of 10

Released: December 18, 1972

Runtime: 1Hour 41Minutes

Rated R

Director: Robert Altman

Studio: Columbia Pictures

Available: DVD

2 responses to “Images (1972)

  1. Left me almost as cold as Altman’s Quintent. A fun house of distortion to determined what is real what is hallucination ultimately left me unconcerned. And the casting of Rene Auberjonwhat! and the film’s score are real misfires as is the whole project including the children’s book which gets too much attention.

  2. Joseph Kearny

    The film seems like a promotion for that damned children’s book which was penned by York

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