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5 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

"I like women, especially beautiful ones," Italian horror maestro Dario Argento once said, on a day that would not win him any female fans. "If they have a good face and figure, I would much prefer to watch them get murdered than an ugly girl or man."

Yeesh. Yet Amer, a voluptuous, nearly wordless homage to the high-styled thrillers of Argento's 1970s heyday, might just vindicate him. In the movie, we observe Ana---as a curious child, then a gawky teen and finally, an alluring, mansion-wandering adult---ravaged by the eyes and prurient interests of men. We take part in it too. And, dangerously, there's an almost ecstatic joy in doing so: the rush of pillowy lips in close-up, razor blades brandished by leather-clad hands, disco colors and smash cuts. Amer could exist only as a movie, not as a novel or a pop song. If you give it a whirl, you won't simply get drunk on its immediacy; you may throw out plot and character altogether.

The filmmakers---Hlne Cattet and Bruno Forzani, a Belgium-based couple with a stellar vinyl collection---perform the year's most obsessive act of nostalgia. Every artful spill of light is perfect. But the truly transcendent aspect of Amer comes later, when you realize that they're upending the sandbox a bit, taking Ana into a forest where sensual vines grip her skin and empower her. The dawn of subversion will give you a silly grin. Start with the surface. There used to be a climate for dares like this; let's re-create it.

Read our interview with Amer's directors

What's a giallo?

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