Hi, Mom! Movie Review

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Before Brian De Palma started making schlock (but arty!) horror like Sisters, Carrie, and The Fury, he was busy making arty (but schlocky!) experimental films like Hi, Mom!

Supposedly a sequel to De Palma's Greetings (never seen it), here we have Robert De Niro as Jon, a Vietnam vet who moves into a hovel of a tenement in New York City, where a trio of interconnected stories begin to play out, all involving Jon's love of his little film camera. First, he becomes infatuated with the building across the street, in particular one of the women (Jennifer Salt) there. Jon hatches a plan to woo her, which he carefully orchestrates like an actor reading from a script. Meanwhile, Jon is also tryiing to make a sort of amateur porn movie by peeping through the windows across the way, figuring this is his next calling in life. This plays into the love affair when he trains the camera on his new girlfriend's window, then pays her a romantic visit.

When this doesn't work out, Jon falls in with a black power group (or at least a satire of one), and is recruited into a bizarre urban terrorism plot, most of which is shown to us in black and white through the real-time lens of Jon's camera.

Hi, Mom! doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense any way you slice it, and it's clear from the start that De Palma is just goofing around, with quick cuts, abrupt plot shifts, and an overall student film feeling that comes across as one big joke.

For his part, De Niro gets his job done admirably, with shades of the Taxi Driver to come. It's not a serious role, but it's not a serious movie, anyway. But fans of his unique method might find this an interesting and instructive early film in De Niro's oeuvre.

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Comments

Hi, Mom! Rating

" OK "

Rating: R, 1970

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