Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Repulsion Movie Review

Fig 1. Film Poster.

Repulsion, directed by Roman Polanski, is a 1965 black and white physiological horror based on a young beautician and her decent to insanity. Carol Ledoux spends a little time alone in her French apartment, which is situated in London, when her sister goes away with her boyfriend. This apartment is run down, large and very antique. This reflects in how Carole acts. At work, she is well known for ‘’spacing out’’ on the job and over the time her sister was absent she got worse and worse. It didn’t help that, as Peter Bradshaw quotes, ‘’she is intimately disgusted by her sister's obnoxious (and married) boyfriend, and by the way this man comes over for noisy sex in the bedroom next to hers, and casually leaves his razor in her tooth-glass.’’ (Bradshaw, 2013.)

There is only so much a woman can take when she fells repulsed by the thought of a man touching her. During the days that the sister was absent, Carole begins not to attend work, leave a rabbit out on the plate to rot and slowly digress into a state of complete mental break down. Bosley Crowther speaks about the change in set design as Carole becomes even crazier. ‘’Distortions in the rooms of the apartment tacitly reveal her mental state. Phantom arms that punch through the walls and seize her visualize her nightmare insanity.’’ [See figure 2]
Fig 2. Phantom Arms
(Crowther, 1965). With the bath over flowing and the potatoes growing eyes, it is clear that without proper supervision, Carole cannot sustain her sanity.

It also seems apparent that with her growing insanity, she seems to envisage the apartment getting larger, the rooms were growing, like the space in her mind, and the cracks in the wall representing her sanity dithering away.

With that said the sound that Polanski uses is very powerful, like the ticking alarm clock that surmises Carole’s, as Elaine Macintyre describes, nightly visits. ‘’At night she is visited by terrible hallucinations (or are they fantasies?) in which men appear from beneath her bedclothes and rape her violently, yet silently, the relentless ticking of her alarm clock the only sound to be heard.’’ (Macintyre, 2014). The dramatic music that flows through the film riles up the tension that explodes in abrupt violence just as Carole does when her sanity reaches breaking point, the point in which she murders as, Crowther continues you out, ‘’within the maelstrom of violence and horror in this film, Mr. Polanski has achieved a haunting concept of the pain and pathos of the mentally deranged.’’ (Crowther, 1965). [See figure 3].
Fig3. Landlord Pre-Murder

In conclusion, the film was utterly confusing, flicking between her mind states, giving the impression that we should be going insane too. In all it was a well-executed film and a challenging mind set to challenge you to figure out what’s going on.

Illustration List.
 Polanski, Paul. (1965). Fig 1. Film Poser. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/05/Repulsion.jpg.  (Accessed on 09/12/2014).
Polanski, Paul. (1965) Fig 2. Phantom Arms. http://popcultureandfeelings.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/repulsion_shot13l.jpg  (Accessed on 09/12/2014).
Polanski, Paul. (1965). Fig 3. Landlord Pre-Murder. http://twentyfourframes.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/repulsion3.jpg  (Accessed on 09/12/2014).

Bradshaw, Peter. (2013) Repulsion. http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/jan/03/repulsion-review. (Accessed on 09/12/2014).
Crowther, Bosley. (1965). Repulsion. http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=EE05E7DF1739E471BC4C53DFB667838E679EDE. (Accessed on 09/12/2014).
Macintryre, Elaine. (2014). Repulsion. http://www.elainemacintyre.net/film_reviews/repulsion.php. (Accessed on 09/12/2014).


  1. Nicely written Julia :0
    I'm not quite sure what you meant here though, ', Crowther continues you out, ‘’within the maelstrom of violence and horror in this film...'

  2. Missed typed it, I apologize. I will amend after Crit.