Thursday, September 13, 2012

The rent is too damn high!

The Tenant is a very strange film taken from a very strange book. The book kind of determines it, but not entirely. I read the novel (novalla really) for this book club I'm part of. After we talked about the book, then we saw the movie. There was some debate over whether Roman Polanski is the only European in the movie. He's not. Most of the cast is French. Their lines are dubbed into very American-sounding English. Except that Melvyn Douglas and Shelley Winters are in it, and they speak US-English despite their characters being French. So it looks like Polanski himself was jumping between languages depending on who else was in the scene.

Then there's the main character going nuts. That part's very vivid.


susan said...

It was very recently that we watched this movie again (after many years). Although it's not a shock horror film like Repulsion or Rosemary's Baby, it is genuinely frightening on a deeper level. You're never really sure if Polanski is really being threatened by his neighbors or if it's just his imagination. The unease provoked by this tension make the movie very scarily effective. Weirder still is the fact that it's also kind of crazily funny - like when he goes to the wig store.

The language thing was noticeable but for me that only lasted a few minutes before I was caught up in the story.

Ben said...

The wig store was a funny scene, yes. And his friends were a fun diversion. There was some hostility from the neighbors but I'm pretty sure his imagination took over at some point. The question is when.

The language thing didn't bother me. If anything I thought it added another psychological wrinkle to the story.