Death Watch 1980


Bertrand Tavernier’s mesmerising film has been out of view for decades; it’s something of a welcome delight to find it popping up on Amazon Instant Video. A remarkably prescient sci-fi drama, it stars as Romy Schnieder as Katherine Mortenhoe, a woman who finds herself unwittingly the subject of a reality television show. Harvey Keitel has a camera implanted in his head, and is assigned to follow her around as she dies. He falls in love with her, and the two of them go on the run in 1980 Scotland. Tavernier’s vision of the future is bang-on, using the derelict areas of Glasgow to artfully suggest a very real dystopia. With great performances, a literate script and a genuine sense of romance, Death Watch is a classic film that demands to be seen. Based on the novel The Unsleeping Eye by David G Compton, with Max Von Sydow, Harry Dean Stanton and a svelte Robbie Coltrane in the cast.


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