Watched: January 05 2019
Director: Roman Polanski
Starring: Leon Niemczyk, Jolanta Umecka, Zygmunt Malanowicz
Runtime: 1h 34min
After almost hitting a young man with their car, a couple angrily invite him to hitch a ride with them. They drive down to a lake, and the hitchhiker (Malanowicz) is invited to go sailing with the couple, Andrzej (Niemczyk) and Krystyna (Umecka), an offer he accepts for some reason.
Once out on the water, both men take turns being suddenly angry and/or insulted and aggressive towards each other while Krystyna lounges about, makes food and does a great job hiding anything which could be deemed a personality.
Tension builds as the trio are exposed to harsh weather and alpha male competitions, and it culminates with the loss of the young man’s pocket knife in the water and his subsequent presumed drowning.
Now, the Norwegian translator for the DVD we watched apparently decided only half the lines were worth subtitling, so we may have missed a few things. Like major plot points. But the tension between the characters was clear even if the reason was not always so.
The entire movie is set in just two locations (albeit moving ones), a car and a boat, which we really enjoyed. We loved the crocodile, the tense start and the ambiguous ending. We also found the couple strangely adorable when they were in the water, despite their chilly relationship in the rest of the film.
Roman Polanski’s debut feature film is beautifully and interestingly shot, and the filming plays a huge part in building the tension. Especially for those of us who do not speak Polish and who are at the mercy of a translator who’s a really slow typist and who doesn’t have time to go back and fill in the blanks… We’re pretty sure we understood about two thirds of the dialogue though, so we’ll call that a win.
What we learned: It is a bit weird to invite a random hitchhiker to go sailing, right..? Also, don’t introduce a knife in the first act unless you’re going to use it by the third. And don’t introduce a woman in the first act unless you’re going to give her a personality by the third.
Next time: The Exterminating Angel (1962)