Knife in the Water (1962)

Knife in the Water
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Mature audiences

Director: Roman Polanski
Actors: Jolanta Umecka, Leon Niemczyk, Zygmunt Malanowicz

Roman Polanski's first feature is a brilliant psychological thriller that many critics still consider among his greatest work. The story is simple, yet the implications of its characters' emotions and actions are profound. When a young hitchhiker joins a couple on a weekend yacht trip, psychological warfare breaks out as the two men compete for the woman's attention. A storm forces the small crew below deck, and tension builds to a violent climax. With stinging dialogue and a mercilessly probing camera, Polanski creates a disturbing study of fear, humiliation, sexuality, and aggression.

Status: Normal
Run time: 95mins
Origin: POLAND
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio Formats: Polish Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded
Subtitles: English

Member Reviews (13)

Stark Black and white cinematography is interesting, it's composition, also the fashion/cars etc. of that era look curious today. One scene reminds me of an engraving by Rockwell Kent titled "Home Port". Acting was not perfect, but overall worth viewing; something different. There are only 3 actors in the entire film and a few props such as a retractable knife, inflatable plastic crocodile, a bottle of wine, etc. Very "sparse" film. The script would work in a theater play, perhaps.
Posted Sunday, 22 September 2013 See my other reviews
Art S.
Often beautiful to look at it in sumptuous black and white, Polanski's first film, a three-hander, already maintains a chilly distance from the characters. The distance between the characters is also probed, as two men (husband and the young hitchhiker) variously brag about their abilities or show off in front of the wife. The camera catches the sunlight and provides a tactile sense of reality, but everything is surfaces and, in the end, no one has been let inside.
Posted Wednesday, 17 October 2012 See my other reviews
Brian M.
I have to admit to enjoying Polanski's later films more than this one. Slow with cloudy character motivations. I didn't get into this, but the stark b
Posted Saturday, 17 April 2010 See my other reviews
Russell W.
A definite classic but painstakingly slow and anti-climatic.
Posted Tuesday, 15 April 2008 See my other reviews
David Stephensen
This great movie is as fresh as the day it was made. Men can be just the same these days, and I am sure women find competitive machismo just as irritating as ever. I just pray that there is never a Hollywood remake. That is always the danger with a timeless masterpiece like this.
Posted Wednesday, 2 April 2008 See my other reviews
Jan M.
Posted Friday, 7 March 2008 See my other reviews
Brian G.'s wife
Hmm. Seems to have dated since we saw it in the 60's.Rather stilted, and B&W of course. It shows a distinct change of male/female dynamics since that time, though the male/male dominance is still alive and well. One thing always fascinates me -- where is the fun in owning a yacht?
Posted Monday, 3 July 2006 See my other reviews
Patrick E.
Actually I'm biased I love great directors but Polanski's first film is not for everybody - it's polish is subtitled & it's in black & white, but the look of it is just astounding. It takes us to another world, so the absurd trivialities of the 3 lone characters seem normal. His accomplishment is all the more amazing considering the difficulty he had coaxing a performance from the woman actor who was not a professional. There is an uneasy feeling I had of the imagined world outside the frame. Is it the feeling Polanski & his country had under communist rule? or is it the feeling we all have at some time alone in the natural world? The Black & White look increases the oppressive feeling of the film, as well as making it compulsive viewing.
Posted Saturday, 22 October 2005 See my other reviews
Trevor Harrison
Posted Monday, 4 July 2005 See my other reviews
Peter Bedo
Suspenseful, small budget little good looking black and white film directed by a master
Posted Monday, 18 April 2005 See my other reviews
Michael Ostrowski
Very European. How different from the mindless "chewing gum for the eyes" numbing our minds...
Posted Thursday, 24 March 2005 See my other reviews
Kevin Spearey
Posted Monday, 29 November 2004 See my other reviews
Gustavo German
A bit violent. But OK.
Posted Monday, 13 September 2004 See my other reviews
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