Monday, 19 October 2009

Knife in the Water


Nóż w wodzie; Drama, Poland, 1962; D: Roman Polanski, S: Leon Niemczyk, Zygmunt Malanowicz, Jolanta Umecka

Andrzej and his wife Krystyna drive in a car. On their way, they are stopped by a blond man who tells them that their lights are turned on. At first, Andrzej is infuriated, but brings him along out of curiosity. The trio arrives to a yacht and sails in the sea. The hitchhiker is afraid of water and stays all alone on the yacht while Andrzej and Krystyna swim in the water. The yacht gets stranded while Andrzej steals the hitchhiker's knife and throws it in the water. He then goes to the shore, whereas the hitchhiker starts an affair with Krystyna, before leaving. Krystyna returns to her Andrzej in the car.

The feature length debut film by director Roman Polanski, thriller-drama "Knife in the Water" gained substantial publicity worldwide and was nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA for best foreign language film. The minimalistic story contains only three protagonists yet Polanski managed to use it to craft a critique of society, character study and an essay about love triangle. The three actors all did a top notch job, but as a whole the film is 'only' good - the most bothersome part is the irritatingly empty walks in the story which is rather boring. The thriller elements are quite weak (only consisting of Andrzej pushing the hitchhiker into the water) whereas too much time is wasted with trivial sailing across the sea. The film has charge, but it is not enough to carry the whole story: it lacks humor and intensity. The biggest 'trump-card' is the camera work that has some unusual angles (the hitchhiker 'walking on water' while holding on to the yacht).

Grade:++

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