Just two actors (both excellent), one set (a theatre) and brilliant dialogues. When the line between theatre and real life, past and present, director and actor (Almaric's resemblance to young Polanski is uncanny) mirror each other and get more and more blurred as the film progresses. Virtuosic and mesmerising.
Même si pour notre part, l'épilogue de cet intelligent et magnifique huis-clos théâtral, nous paraît inadéquat et pesant avec une insupportable et surnuméraire prestation dansée d'Emmanuelle Seigner, on reste dans la fascination d'un texte et d'une interprétation somme toute remarquables... www.cinefiches.com
Not the best Polanski. Although Emmanuelle Seigner is absolutely magnifique and the actual rapport between the actors is splendid, the text leads the whole to an stupid ending, filled with cliches. My wife gave the perfect description: "this is Fifty Shades of Grey with lots of intellectual pretensions". There's a literary and theatrical side of me that would love to love this film, but it just doesn't hold. Sad.
After watching "Carnage" I asked myself what abomination on to the Lord would the likes of Tarantino make with a talky script like that? Then this came. Now, not only is it yet another time Polanski feels the urge to undress himself in public, but his previous work at least had a healthy dose of subtlety in them. Could it be morally wrong to expose someone to this parade of exhibitionism?
this is what happens when you LITERALLY make a film ONLY with a brilliant script (and a giant cactus). this is what happens when you decide to show our hidden perversions. this is what happens when you end your film with a perfect final scene. yes, this is basically FILMMAKING.
A masochist gets pleasure from suffering; a sadist, just the opposite, gets pleasure from doing it. But here, the subject is not this. It is about the power struggle, the eternal battle between the sexes. About who is in control & who isn’t. Thomas (the boss) & Vanda (the subordinate) constantly are sliding in & out of characters & control. You don't know, who is now dominating whom? Brilliant! Masterpiece.