Finally had the opportunity to watch this film. I love Roman Polanski’s work. The first two films of The Apartment trilogy are phenomenal. Even his recent stuff is so good (I’m talking especially about Carnage). This is a film he worked on in between Repulsion and Rosemary’s Baby and going in I had no idea what it was about. After watching I don’t think its among Polanski’s best but still enjoyable and pretty damn frenetic like most of his work at the time.
The film follows a gangster and his dying partner who take refuge in a castle out in an island. On this island lives quite a neurotic man and his girlfriend and they kind of have to give into the whims of their captor. In a way push comes to shove and things get hectic between the trio and others coming onto the island. Its hard to explain this film fully giving it justice without spoiling. While the film has flaws and isn’t as memorable as some of his others that came out at the same time.
It doesn’t really tap into fear and paranoia like Rosemary’s Baby and Repulsion; its another thing thematically. I think the comedic aspect of the film kind of hurts it from being one of Polanski’s finer works. I think Polanski knows how to tap into fear, anxiety, paranoia and this film is pretty void of that. It’s nice seeing Donald Pleasance in something so different prior to his Halloween days.
Overall, its worth a watch for people who really like Polanski’s work although he is capable of much better. Its still an alluring experience as with most of his work. It doesn’t quite feel as claustrophobic a film as it could be (with the title and his other work). I might go on a bit of a Polanski binge and watch a bunch of other stuff I haven’t seen. Or, revisit some of his best which should be fun.