Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Repulsion (1965)

Roman Polanski was the wrong man to make this film. I've long since believed that Polanski, though talented, makes films that are to be admired rather than liked -- there's a level of distance even in his best films (Knife in the Water not included) that keeps them from being anything better than solid. Many of his films succeed despite that hampering; this, though, despite its reputation, is a misfire. What we have is a portrait of a woman losing her mind, which is all well and good. But Polanski's curious clinicality kept me at arm's length the whole time, so that I saw the events in the film but I didn't feel them... and a thriller where you don't feel at least a little uneasy isn't a terribly useful thriller. Polanski's eye for composition is keen, and he gets a stunning feral performance from Catherine Deneuve, but the fact remains that this is too detached to have an impact. You can look at a crazy person from behind glass, but it's not going to be nearly as dangerous as if you stepped in the room with them.

Grade: C+


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