Anxiety I

film 3 of 4


Film Review by Dean Duncan May 21, 2015

It appears that someone has been reading Harold Pinter. The vivid, ancient setting—Lindisfarne!—adds some history, even some eternity to that fashionable anxiety, and cruelty. Ditto the superb camera work. This looks just like what Orson Welles was doing on Chimes at Midnight, except that I think this was made first. Plus which it’s not that far from Polanski’s feature debut, Knife in the Water—the isolated setting, the intra-male power games with a woman as object and victim, and then ultimate power. (Really fine performances here, especially Stander, and most especially Pleasance!)

I wonder sometimes. What’s with Polanski, anyway? It’s powerful stuff, but you start to think of a dog returning to his vomit. Let’s point out that the very well judged and executed terrible afternoon with the terrible guests lightens things briefly. This stretch is more reminiscent of comic Ionesco than of black horror and utter misanthropy. After that, black horror and utter misanthropy.