Melding slapstick comedy with Hitchcockian vibes under the impression that he’s satirizing the entire exploitation film genre, Murder á la Mod might be De Palma’s most wackily inventive film. Black & white madness, De Palma’s Murder á la Mod is a very unusual film as it is both experimental and trashy to a certain point. With an undefined main character, Murder á la Mod starts off with a bang, an awesome song to accompany the film’s intro that depicts an ultra-kinetic camera style that seems like pure energy transferred onto film. Then it comes to a halting stop as we’re subjected to see a punch of boring, extremely awkward and uncomfortable recordings that show woman about to take their cloth off before they decide not to. Although this might have been a very short segment in the film’s eighty minute runtime it felt eternal as it completely brought the film’s pacing to a grinding stop.
Finally, after a monotonous series of uneasy recordings we’re are introduced to our main character, a familiar face we saw during the film’s hyper-kinetic intro. From there on a series of perspective scenes unfold through time as a murder violently erupts and we’re treated to the perspective of everyone who was involved as the murder transpired. At the beginning, Murder á la Mod is practically a snooze fest, but then it reaches a degree of such ridiculousness and insanity that I accepted the film’s slapstick tone towards dealing with a sudden murder that happens to occur on the set of an exploitation film that deals with the same subject. Its an odd mix of The Three Stooges, Psycho and The Killing, things that should definitely not work together and for many people don’t, but for whatever reason it does for me as it far exceeds the limits of film at the time and defines its own maddening sense of wacky camera fun.
You’ve got a cast entirely made up of nobodies and Brian De Palma not caring about the outcome this tiny black and white experimental film might bring, which means even though the acting might not be the best, you’ve got a bunch of really fun scenes you can tell De Palma just wanted to try out on a small budget even though they didn’t mean anything in this film. You’ve got this really interesting concept that De Palma applies to each of his perspective scenes in which he actually includes the personality of the person he’s following into the scene, making the murderer’s perspective scene withdrawn from his face, calculating, and slow, meanwhile on the opposite side of that you’ve got Otto’s scenes which involve kinetic camera-movement, music, fast-forwarding and even though the character never opens his mouth his scenes involve the narration of his thoughts for whatever reason. Playing with perspective, time, and personality, Brian De Palma conjures what I believe to be a pretty underrated murder-mystery of utter unique craziness. Its a kaleidoscopic journey through the man’s vision of Hitchcock and what he finds funny, boring at times, funny at times, and overall just a complete mesh of insanity that doesn’t make sense for the majority of its runtime, for whatever reason I must say I had quite an amount of fun with Murder á la Mod and can call it a perfect film to have in the background as you’re working on something, placing it at a 60 out of 100 on the bad but entertaining side of rating a film.