Sunday, April 7, 2013

Criterion on Hulu: Knife in the Water (1962)

Knife in the Water (1962) – Directed by Roman Polanski; Written by Jerzy Skolimowski; Cinematography by Jerzy Lipman; Starring Leon Niemczyk, Jolanta Umecka and Zygmunt Malanowicz.

By Kenny Howell

Roman Polanski’s debut is not a groundbreaking piece of cinema, but it is a look at what a master would become.

When a married couple almost hits a student with their car, they invite him on a yachting trip, for no clear reason. Is it to make up for the near tragedy, or is it something more? What culminates is sexual tension and a power struggle among the three.

Polanski’s film is visually stunning, and showed what was ahead for the director. Every shot is a work of art, as Polanski (Chinatown) took simple scenes, added another layer with dynamic set ups and angles. There is ambiguity to this, which could lose the viewer, but Polanski keeps things visually arresting. 

You can watch Knife in the Water on Hulu as part of the Criterion collection. 

Rating: ****

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