@10 months ago with 4 notes
#cul-de-sac #roman polanski #donald pleasance #cinema #movies #film
A real masterpiece I’m ashamed not to have seen before. I’ll have to see it again before declaring it better than Repulsion but it’s at least an equal.
While Repulsion, Knife in the Water, Rosemary’s Baby and others all showcase the quirky sort of suspense and black humor that Polanski is known for, this one exemplifies it above all others I’ve seen. We get three actors forming a sort of unholy trinity of personalities, ingredients to a total disaster.
Donald Pleasance is a man akin to Dustin Hoffman in Straw Dogs, weak but wanting to be strong, effeminate but wanting to be masculine, useless but wanting to be potent. He lives in a Lindisfarne castle with an archetypical (or offensively stereotypical) woman, severely unpredictable and capable of cunning or hysteria or both. The story begins as a thuggish bank robber with a voice like Ernest Borgnine’s squared and his accomplice arrive on their island just as the tide seals off the only road to it. What ensues is the greatest imaginable work of suspense and slapstick.
The three characters interact in a manner worthy of the Coen Bros at their best, while at the same time they become mired in a pressure cooker that begins with a hostage situation and only grows more and more intense and bizarre as elements ranging from stray chickens to guns to the most rotten little shit of a child are thrown into the mix, often at the most perfectly wrong time. Much like his most recent film Carnage, everything snowballs rapidly, but while Carnage was light and free, this is focused and more dangerous. Much more dangerous. Even the rancid brat boy is a hazard more startling than anything in Hostel.
The photography is brilliant, much more picturesque than most Polanski films (And more to my taste than the look of Chinatown) and almost comparable to Orson Welles’ Othello in the treatment of castle and gloomy clouds. It’s a real pleasure to watch, not a wasted second in the whole 90 minute movie. Artful, entertaining, surprising, realistic yet absurd, dark yet very funny. Just a great movie.