Shattered by the death of their young daughter Christine, John and Laura Baxter (Sutherland and Christie) attempt to come to terms with their grief by travelling to an off-season Venice where John has been employed to work on the renovation of a church mural. There, Laura is approached by a blind mystic who claims to have had visions of Christine in which she warns that John's life is in danger if he does not leave Venice immediately. Meanwhile, a series of grisly murders have thrown the shadowy city into chaos and fear.
Adapted from a short story by Daphne du Maurier, Roeg's film is a characteristically elliptical and genuinely unsettling affair, heightened by a palpable sense of atmosphere and ominous portent in which nothing is what it seems.
Effective enough as a chiller in its own right, with Roeg of course it all goes so much deeper, acting as a labyrinthine but none the less moving and perceptive mediation on loss, love, and the indefinable nature of time itself. As if piecing together an intricate puzzle, key motifs constantly recur: the colour red, shattered glass, water, until their ultimate meaning is finally revealed to horrifying effect.
With Sutherland and Christie in fine form it all adds up to one of Roeg's finest films and an undeniably key work in British cinema.
Video extract from "Don't Look Now" courtesy of the British Film Institute under licence from Studio Canal.