Directed by Roman Polanski
A couple posts ago I talked about how few truly frightening films were made in the 60’s. Let me post-face that with this little apology… Occasionally, occasionally, I am prone to making grand and sweeping generalizations. It’s one of my (few, I swear ladies) lesser qualities. Had I seen Polanski’s “Repulsion” before I wrote that post, I am fairly certain I would have never written those words. Because make no mistake, this movie is bizarre and disturbing as all hell.
The genius of this film (as in all Polanski films) lies in its subtlety. “Repulsion” takes its time getting to where it wants to go and doesn’t care if it loses you along the way. Truthfully, I found myself falling asleep during the first half hour of this film. (Side note: I have never watched one Polanski film, and of his films I have seen many, where I have NOT fallen asleep at some point during my first watching of it. I have no idea why this happens, it just does. And this is not a judgment of the quality of his films as my glowing words of praise at the beginning of this post can a test too… in fact if anything, I have to say it is solely due to the comfort I find in his films…. but this review is getting off track. Perhaps I will devote an entire post to Polanski’s calming effect on my nerves at another time… Perhaps, but don’t count on it.) Because the first part of this film, while shot beautifully and composed of layers that can only be gleamed upon through repeat viewings, is about as mundane as it gets. Carol spends the first 40 minutes of this film doing peoples’ nails, shying away from men, and staring out every window of her apartment. But at that 50 minute mark, shit starts to get real and by the end of the film, its title has been fully earned.
The real fun that I got out of this film was just realizing how much Polanski has changed and grown as a filmmaker. It’s amazing to see a man as talented and original as he is, is still a product of his times. One look at the first half of “Repulsion” and you can literally see, on-screen, how much Polanski was influenced by his fellow European filmmakers who (right around the same time) were creating the New Wave of cinema. I would almost even classify “Repulsion” as English (by proxy of a Pollock) New Wave. And as I’ve stated before, I love me some New Wave. Anyway, enough’s enough I suppose. Here’s the trailer: