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  Murder in a Blue World Kubrick Rubric
Year: 1973
Director: Eloy de la Iglesia
Stars: Sue Lyon, Christopher Mitchum, Jean Sorel, Ramón Pons, Charly Bravo, Alfredo Alba, David Carpenter, Antonio del Real
Genre: Thriller, Science Fiction, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: The near future and there's a killer about in the city, as if it didn't have enough problems already. The police suspect a homosexual man is the culprit as all the victims have been male, but they would be surprised if they knew who was really behind the crimes. Step forward nurse Ana (Sue Lyon), who has just been awarded a special recognition for her caring work with her patients, but has a unguessed dark side. She is the girlfriend of Victor (Jean Sorel), a doctor and researcher in the hospital where she works, and he is very interested in the rehabilitation of criminals which he is pioneering investigation in. But what will it take to stop Ana killing?

The alternative title of Murder in a Blue World is Clockwork Terror, which will give you the idea that this was based on Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange and to some extent it operates as a tribute to that cult item. Indeed, Kubrick even makes an appearance on one of the huge television screens that grace the homes of the characters, though in photographic form only, and introducing a screening of his apparently prophetic, according to this, science fiction opus. That this announcement is followed by the home that it is being watched in invaded by young thugs is presumably a ripe irony.

Director Eloy de la Iglesia is still best known for Cannibal Man, a similarly bleak work, though this is far more idiosyncratic being set in the world of the near future and takes the themes of the Kubrick film on without exploiting them; this is far more respectful and unwilling to criticise, simply adapting the violence and free will in society musings to what looks more like a representation of Italian giallo. Son of Robert Mitchum, Christopher Mitchum co-stars as David, one of the thugs, but before you know it he has been drummed out of the gang and left to fend for himself.

He notices Ana dumping the body of one of her victims in the river and latches onto her like a stalker, though she remains entirely unaware of his presence or interest in her. Kubrick's Lolita herself, grown up and suggesting career choices were limited, Lyon makes an unlikely serial killer, a plot construction more than anything else as one of those movie characters you wouldn't ever meet in the real world. The star simpers her way through the role, never threatening and contributing to the weird, off kilter landscape of the film as she dons a disguise or offs yet another hapless bed partner. We find out her philosophy for these actions at the end, but it makes little sense on closer examination.

De la Iglesia and his four co-writers want to make some kind of statement about society, but they're hamstrung by having to adhere to thriller conventions, so there's a car chase and a suspense setpiece that sees David creeping around Ana's luxurious home (Spanish nurses must be well paid in the future) while upstairs she attends to a man she's picked up in a bar. Victor meanwhile attends to the satire as he electrocutes the antisocial qualities out of various ne'erdowells, but can science be one hundred percent effective in rehabilitating the criminal mind? "No" is the answer here, as people are far too complex for a quick fix, but this is put over in such an uneasy, no sense of urgency manner that you watch the film for its peculiarities and bizarre atmosphere rather than for any lessons it might have wanted to teach you. Music by Georges Garvarentz.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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