Most directors can get so pretentious with their use of symbolism and the art of showing and telling as little as possible but not Roman Polanski really. He has fully mastered it and made it his own. He is so comfortable directing it that the movie flows naturally, even though the movie itself is far from standard with its story and way of storytelling.
If you had to label this movie I guess you can best call it a psychological thriller, in which we get a look into the mind of a young attractive girl, who obviously has some social- as well as some psychological issues.

It's not necessarily a movie that features a 'conflict' or villainous characters in it, which doesn't make this your everyday average thriller. It's one that does its own thing really and also tells its story in its own way. This means that the buildup is slow and it constantly makes you wonder what is actually real and what is not and is only happening in the young girls mind. It gives the movie a great feeling of paranoia.

It all gets strengthened by the black & white cinematography. It's a great way of film-making that has nothing to do with age really, though the general perception of it is different, which is the reason why hardly any movies get done in black & white now days. A real shame, since it's really something that can truly add to a movie its atmosphere and story, as this movie demonstrates.

It also was a great choice to pick Catherine Deneuve as the main lead. She is cute, soft spoken (with a thick French accent as well) and comes across as very vulnerable and repressed, in about every way imaginable. Her looks and acting style both make her role work out very well. It was both hers and Polanski's first English movie.

A great minimalistic psychological thriller, from the early days of Polanski's career.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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