Thursday, 24 October 2013


1st, as the film begins, we're introduced to Scottie Ferguson and his acrophobia and his feeling of guilt when a colleague falls off a roof because of him. He retires as a detective.
Then there's a turn. The film doesn't simply deal with a man with fear of heights. Now there are a husband (Gavin Elster) and a wife (Madeleine), the wife has mental problems, and the husband asks his friend Scottie to follow her, to see where she goes and what she does. Like a typical suspense film. 
As might be expected, Scottie falls in love with her. Hooks up with her. Like a typical development for such a storyline.
(At the same time, in the background there's 1 person miserably stuck in the friend zone).

Then there's another turn. Madeleine runs up the stairs of a church in a Spanish town and Scottie tries to follow, but of course with his acrophobia he can't follow her up to the top. Whilst standing there, he sees the body fall from the top of the church to a roof below. Having both vertigo and shock and confusion, he runs away. 
Now the film goes back to the 1st part about Scottie having acrophobia and vertigo. The 2nd time witnessing a death in which he should intervene to save a person but can't, because of his vertigo, he develops guilt complex and melancholia and can't get out of the thoughts that he could have saved Madeleine but has lost her. He can't forgive himself for that and keeps having nightmares. film has another turn, again. It goes back to being a suspense film. Whilst wandering the streets after getting out of the hospital, Scottie sees a girl that looks just like Madeleine, and follows her. It turns out that the story is much more complex than anybody has thought. It's a plan, a set-up, a conspiracy, and Scottie is simply a victim, taken advantage of because of his acrophobia. He doesn't know it at this point, however. Only the audience do. 

More confusingly, there's a turn, once more. And it's also the best bit. Scottie likes the girl, Judy, but wants to change her. He finds her clothes and changes her makeups, hair colour and hairstyle, just so Judy becomes his Madeleine. To me it isn't romantic. To me it isn't a great, sad love story. It's guilt complex. It's obsession. It's visual control. It's male oppression.
It becomes clearer in the next and last sequence as he drives her to the Spanish town that Scottie doesn't  have feelings for Judy, all he loves is Madeleine and the image of Madeleine, or perhaps, he doesn't really love Madeleine either, but his attempts to make Judy his Madeleine with those makeups and hairstyle only result from his guilt complex for not saving Madeleine, and thus by bringing Judy to the church he wants to face the situation once more, seeing it as a 2nd chance, to get out of his acrophobia, to get out of his guilty feelings, to be free once and for all, to return to his normal life without obsession and nightmares.
In the end...

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