Knife in the Water 1962

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 coup…
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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.

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Running Time

95mins

Member Reviews

  • Showing it's age a bit but it still cuts it and it's still an intriguing film and precursor to an emerging, if flawed, genius, Polanski..

  • 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.

    Eva
  • 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.

  • 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

  • A definite classic but painstakingly slow and anti-climatic.

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