|Dressed to Kill (1980)|
|Director:||Brian De Palma|
|Writers:||Brian De Palma|
|Starring:||Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, and Keith Gordon|
There are some very intriguing characters throughout the movie, played by some De Palma regulars. Among them, we have Dennis Franz as the scuzzy policeman who has almost zero people skills whatsoever. His character is rather unlikable, but Franz pours on enough charm that it isn’t surprising that we come to actually like the goofy character by the end of the movie. Also in the cast is Nancy Allen, who would team with Franz one year later for De Palma’s Blow Out, and this time around she plays a very strong woman who just so happens to be a prostitute. The differences between her character, who survives, and Angie Dickinson’s “Kate,” who passes away early on in the movie, is displayed in the way they view sex. Nancy Allen’s “Liz” is a woman who is so sexual that she has nearly become post-sexual, liberated from any hangups and only concerned with how she can use it to make money and better improve her life. She’s using her sex at night to make money so that she can buy and sell stocks during the day, showing off both a sophistication with her money as well as an understanding of the streets. There’s a savviness in the film to all of the main cast, whether it be through their understanding of the criminal element or if through intellectual pursuits. The character of Peter, played by Keith Gordon who many will remember as the young teen from John Carpenter’s Christine, is another of these characters with surprising depth. A young genius, the young man regularly builds automated devices as he searches out the person who killed his mother. His character is not the average “Brilliant Nerd.” This isn’t Data from The Goonies, the projects that he builds have a very low budget aesthetic to them. He builds contraptions with what he has to work with, and his blueprints all have an aura of realism. His character probably has the least number of lines from the main cast, but his quest for vengeance is palpable through his grimace. Despite seeming simplicity, his character at all times seems real. As the movie develops, and we see that he has a small crush on Liz, the character becomes fleshed out and is far more than just a catalyst for introducing fun technology into the movie.