It’s the last film of Roman Polanski’s ‘apartment trilogy’ after ‘Repulsion’ and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and having watched all three films, I must say that as far as psychological thriller is concerned he’s just unbeatable. Surprisingly Polanski himself enacted the lead role here and gave one of the memorable performance of victim tenant. The plot is about a man who rents an apartment where the older tenant committed suicide attempt. Slowly he starts realizing the scheming set up converting him to be something different. Don’t want to spoil by writing more.
Polanski’s films are unique in a way he created his lead characters and the way he dealing with the theme of existential paradox that each of us is alone and it’s this quality which drag us into the world of loneliness. It is always interesting to watch his characters coping with all their psychological paranoia. We see lot of private moments of his characters in all three films and its Polanski’s indication to absorb us into the character’s true identity or perhaps turning us subjective towards the victimized protagonist. Among all three films, Polanski slowly built a tension which involves the audience, reaching its penultimate course in the climax. It’s a brilliant ending where flashback mixes with present and we notice Polanski watching himself bandaged on hospital bed as old tenant and that close up shot of yelling with which movie fades out.
Broken tooth hidden inside the hole in a wall, a mysteriously visible toilet in an apartment, a swinging football changes into human head, slow progression of cross-dressing, clapping neighbors in climax…Polanski created some of the chilling set up and images full of hallucinations which will stay in my head for long long time. Shot selection is again benchmark of Polanski films; the way he shot this trilogy is enough to give close competition to even Master Hitchcock.
Mandatory watch for all Polanski fans who haven’t seen it yet.