The Medusa Touch (1978)

Article 3008 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-2-2009
Posting Date: 11-8-2009
Directed by Jack Gold
Featuring Richard Burton, Lino Ventura, Lee Remick
Country: France / UK

When a man is found bludgeoned almost to death in his apartment, a police inspector seeks to find the murderer. His search leads him to the knowledge that the victim may have powers of destruction that make him a threat to society. Furthermore, despite his injuries, the victim refuses to die… and his brain is getting stronger.

If you’re a fan of fantastic cinema, then it can be rather tiresome to run across one of those movies that dwells overmuch on the subject that “no one will believe what’s happening”, even if it is essential to the plot. This is why the first three-fourths of this movie gets tiresome; I get a little antsy waiting for the movie to take the concept to the next level, and I don’t need to see continually mounting evidence that this character really has the powers in question. Nevertheless, the movie manages to build to a neat little thriller once it finishes setting up its premise, and it raises a number of interesting moral questions in the process. Oddly enough, the movie doesn’t really take off until it manages to solve the mystery that drives its first three-quarters, but the universally strong performances from all concerned help to keep us interested despite its flaws. Oddly enough, my favorite little touch to the mystery is one you can figure out on your own; immediately after the murder, the television is switched off, but when the body is discovered, the television is back on. I don’t recall it being solved directly during the course of the movie, but you should be able to figure out why it’s on.

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