Sunday, October 11, 2009

#22 - The Tenant

La Locataire (1976)
Directed by: Roman Polanski. Written by: Roman Polanski and Gerard Brach, based on the novel by Roland Topor.

Plot: A quiet, mild mannered man (Roman Polanski) rents an apartment, the previous occupant of which committed suicide by jumping from the window. The other inhabitants of the building start treating him strangely and he grows increasingly more paranoid and less sure of his own identity.

Review: Disturbing film. It’s one of those psychological thrillers for smart people but it doesn’t ever rub it in too much or make me feel dumb, and it’s really fucking creepy besides. The way the guy slowly descends into total insanity is morbidly fascinating, much like Repulsion. The two movies have a great deal in common - both are sickening dissections of crazy people. Slow and fucked up.

The really interesting thing about this movie is that Polanski cast himself in the lead role and is actually really good. I mean really good. Usually when a person directs, (co)writes and stars… well, they’re a little less than wow. It’s also a good indication that the person is a megalomaniacal nut job.

However, Polanski pulls it off. His character is very subdued and restrained and he does a very good job of portraying a guy on the verge of flipping his shit. And he’s really likeable too, which makes the inevitable loss of mind sort of depressing. Of course, he does get to snog Isabelle Adjani which is fair compensation… she’s real purdy.

But yeah, this is another example of how to make a really creepy thriller. It’s all about character. Character is the most important part.

I dunno, this movie was pretty awesome, although the image of Roman Polanski in drag still haunts my brain. I quite like him (I know, he’s like a child molester or whatever but, man, he had a messed up life. His mother died in a concentration camp and his wife was murdered. Cut the guy some slack. Seriously. And, you know, they tricked him into going to to Switzerland. That's not cool), but you know, that was kind of creepy. Not that I don’t like guys in drag. It looks good on some guys and hey, whatever you’re into is cool by me (except, I dunno, queer stomping. And fucking kittens. That is not right), but Roman Polanski is just kind of creepy so… there’s that.

Anyway… this movie is good.

Favourite Part:
I dunno, I liked the whole movie. The weird atmosphere made it feel almost as though it’s in another dimension… although, actually, that’s the case with every Polanski movie.

Other versions: None.

Sequels: None.

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