Friday, July 10, 2009

Watching The Walls Close In

Directed By Roman Polanski
One of the best horror films, I've ever seen, and one of the best psychological thrillers too. Personally I like that Polanski doesn't reveal the source of the lead character's trauma, as it would have been all too easy to do.I also like that even though Denevue's delusions manifest long before anything happens to her, in a way her paranoia was almost correct, she is at one point attacked. What's horrifying is that some of her victims are trying to help, others are really trying to get her, but her eroding sanity makes it impossible to distinguish between the two. Few movies could sustain a free fall into madness without becoming repetitive, but Polanski manages to make the onset of cabin fever and agoraphobia seem real, in a way anyone whose spent a significant amount of time completely alone in a house will understand. The noises, cracks, and objects left scattered take on a significance and life of their own. A young shy french woman living with her sister in London, is left on her own in her apartment while her sister goes away on a vacation for a few weeks, and she begins to lose touch with reality. Her fantasies and fears of sex, men in general, and strange peripheral oddities (like the band in the street), begin to snowball out of control. Catherine Denueve makes the performance organic, and a success, in a way, similar themed and hyper-actively over-acted films like "Bug" can only imagine.In "Bug" characters cackle their lines and wear tin foil helmets to let you know their carrrazay, where Denevezue can show a mind caving in of itself with a glance. Repulsion's hypnotic and emotionaly engaging descention into madness is quicksand, and on par with the best in it's class like,"Psycho" and "The Shinning". This film was the first in Polanski's Apartment Trilogy; three tales of paranoia confined in apartment buildings, which would go on to include the more popular, "Rosemary's Baby", and the more ambiguous, "The Tennant" .The close up on the photograph at the end, it appears a young Catherine, looking dazed and eerie as always, is looking at a man sitting to the right of what appears to be her parents. Then again maybe she's not looking at anyone or anything at all. Maybe she's looking at something even she doesn't understand.

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