Roman Polanski's first feature immediately established him as a filmmaker to be reckoned with, winning top honors at the Venice Film Festival, a Best Foreign Film Oscar nomination, and a place on the cover of Time in conjunction with the first New York Film Festival. Polanski's
career-long fascination with human cruelty and violence is already evident, as is his intense interest in exploring the complex tensions involved in close relations.
When Andrzej (Niemczyk), a successful sportswriter on holiday with his wife, Christine (Umecka), picks up a hitchhiker (Malanowicz), the couple asks the young man (nameless throughout) to join them on a short boating excursion. Jealous of the blonde boy's youth and looks, Andrzej boasts of his
physical prowess, faulting his guest's inexperience at sea. Tension between the men intensifies, with the pocket knife that represents the hitchhiker's particular skills lending a continual suggestion of violence and sexuality to the goings-on. Things eventually do get violent.
Filmed in black and white, this film is extremely assured, concise, and telling in its characterizations. KNIFE IN THE WATER is also notable in the career of another Polish filmmaker, coscenarist Jerzy Skolimowski, who had already begun to direct, but emerged internationally in 1982 with the
offbeat MOONLIGHTING. Some would argue that KNIFE IN THE WATER is a more interesting movie than any Polanski made in the west after leaving his native land. Brilliantly told and well-acted, Polanski's half tongue-in-cheek, lugubrious and sinister filmic style seemed quite refreshing at the
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Roman Polanski's first feature immediately established him as a filmmaker to be reckoned with, winning top honors at the Venice Film Festival, a Best Foreign Film Oscar nomination, and a place on the cover of Time in conjunction with the first New York Fil… (more)