Year: 1965

Director: Roman Polanski

Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser, Yvonne Furneaux, Patrick Wymark, Renee Huston, Valerie Taylor, James Villiers, Helen Fraser, Hugh Futcher, Monica Merlin, Imogen Graham, Mike Pratt

 

Repulsion gets under your skin. Polanski pushes the limits with this movie that for its time was surely seen as extremely explicit, crass, sexually candid, violent, and intensely disturbing. The stunningly beautiful Catherine Deneuve is absolutely riveting in her performance, which relies on her body and facial expressions often times to tell the story, with very little dialogue written for her part, Carol.

Carol is a young attractive woman. She is a woman with a problem that some girls would envy. It seems she attracts men. All kinds of men. In fact, every man it seems. Every man she has ever come in contact with. That is her problem. See, unlike so many young woman who enjoy male attention, Carol doesn’t like the affections of men. The question is, why? That, Polanski leaves up to the audience to deduce. It is this reviewers belief that the reason for Carol’s struggles can be found in the very last shot of the film. Her glance, reveals the root of her problems.

This movie is a simple movie in many respects, as it simply attempts to capture insanity visually, filmically. Many events take place that demonstrate insanity.

However, it is left up to the audience to try to deduce why the things witnessed are shown. What, exactly is the cause?

Visually stunning, this movie is worth a look, despite the pace of the film which younger viewers will find slow. The use of symbolism in the film has great impact. Especially, the apartment Carol spends much of her time in, which physically manifests her mental state. Polanski is clearly a master of film, the art of telling a story visually. He even opts to not include sound at key moments of dramatic impact. Also, there is little dialogue in this film, compared to most, which adds to its eerie feel. It is very detailed in its style, and it is wise to not miss a frame while viewing it. It is a movie that I believe is meant to be felt, not just watched. In many respects it would seem the film maker is more interested in evoking an emotional response from the audience rather then explaining the intricacies of the plot points in the story. No matter what conclusions are drawn by the audience, all who see are bound to feel exactly what the director intends. Like I said, it gets under you skin and festers, rotting your insides, until the final frame, when the audience is left alone, much like Carol herself. Alone and disturbed.

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