Often lumped together with the thematically similar Psycho, Peeping Tom is regarded as a landmark film in British cinema. It was the equivalent of a “solo album” for director Michael Powell, who regularly collaborated with Emeric Pressburger for over 30 years. But its lurid milieu and critical lashing almost ended Powell’s career. Written by Leo Marks, it depicts a socially awkward serial killer (German-born Carl Boehm) who films his female victims, perhaps in response to the sadistic games meted out by his cruel father (played in home movies, intriguingly, by Powell). Technically inventive and figuratively profound (the killer is a film-maker who makes us complicit in his assaults), Peeping Tom was certainly ahead of its time and has been cited by Martin Scorsese as one of his favourites. It may seem tame today, when serial killer stories are ten a penny, but it still has the power to unsettle.
To save their gym, a bunch of misfits must defeat a ruthless keep-fit tycoon (played by Ben Stiller, complete with ridiculous moustache and mullet) in a silly but likeable comedy. Rip Torn is a hoot as the dotty dodgeball coach who literally beats them into shape.
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