EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|CUL-DE-SAC (director/writer: Roman Polanski; screenwriter: Gérard Brach; cinematographer: Gilbert Taylor; editor: Alastair McIntyre; music: Komeda; cast: Donald Pleasence (George), Françoise Dorléac (Teresa), Lionel Stander (Richard), Jack MacGowran (Albert), William Franklyn (Cecil), Robert Dorning (Philip Fairweather), Marie Kean (Marion Fairweather), Trevor Delaney (Nicholas), Iain Quarrier (Christopher), Jacqueline Bisset (Jacqueline); Runtime: 113; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Gene Gutowski/Michael Klinger/Tony Tenser; Criterion Collection, The; 1966)|
|"It's an actor's pic, where plot is
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Polanski ("Knife in the Water"/"Repulsion"/"Death and the Maiden") directs this absurd oddball dark comedy
about a kinky couple, Teresa (Françoise Dorléac) and
George (Donald Pleasence),
who choose to run away from the
world to live in a beachfront castle on a secluded Northumberian island
in Britain. The psychological thriller is scripted by Polanski and Gerard Brach.
The timid middle-aged George sold his factory and retired to live with his perky pretty young wife in isolation, raising chickens and doing some amateur painting. Their tranquility is interrupted when a wounded fugitive criminal named Richard (Lionel Stander) and his dying partner Albert (Jack MacGowran) take refuge at their castle and hold the couple hostage.
The bossy Richard is armed and orders the
couple around in a gruff way, insults them, mocks George for being a
fairy and destroys their orderly world of living the simple life.
Richard calls his boss to say they botched the job and expects him to
send someone to the castle to take them back home, since their car
broke down in the sand. That person never arrives, but George's horrid
friends (Robert Dorning, Marie Kean, Jacqueline
Bisset, William Franklyn) and a bratty child (Trevor Delaney) arrive unexpectedly and won't take the
hint that they're not welcome until George in a crazy manner asserts
himself and gives them the boot.
by the insensitive Teresa and relentlessly bullied by Richard, the whiny George at last completely
cracks and finds a way to get rid of his wife and all the unwelcomed
Funny in a perverse way, as Polanski creates a maddening claustrophobic atmosphere for his unlikable characters to make living in the ideal castle a nightmare. It's an actor's pic, where plot is insignificant. I thoroughly enjoyed Pleasence's over-the-top performance and he was matched by Stander's entertaining flamboyant one.
REVIEWED ON 7/21/2011 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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