Knife in the Water

"Extraordinary"

Knife in the Water Review


Before he got all famous with movies like Rosemary's Baby and The Pianist, Roman Polanski created Knife in the Water, his first feature film.

Water is a small but incredibly engaging movie, taking place during a day trip on a Polish lake. In the film, upscale couple Andrzej and Krystyna (Leon Niemczyk and Jolanta Umecka) drive out to the marina to take a little ride on the water, picking up a tenacious, beefcake hitchhiker (Zygmunt Malanowicz, whose character is unnamed in the film) and letting him go along on the trip. Andrzej goes to outrageous lengths to belittle his passenger, as the two men obliquely battle for the attention of Krystyna. It all comes to a head with Andrzej pushing the non-swimming blonde kid into the water, right after tossing his beloved knife into the drink. And there's more to come after that.

Knife in the Water is exceptionally well made for a first movie, maybe the best "first" following only Citizen Kane. Polanski and his cinematographer Jerzy Litman prove themselves masters at pulling off a very difficult shoot that takes place almost entirely at sea and in a variety of weather circumstances. The script, while it's never directly on point, is always engaging and never becomes boring, even though the trio talk endlessly about the most banal subjects. It's all subtext for Polanski's story about jealousy and betrayal -- and on a broader scale, class warfare. Krystyna is the central figure in the film, though she probably gets the least amount of screen time. Would she really be interested in a nameless drifter, buff though he may be? Then again, why would a sophisticate be married to a cad like Andrzej? Water challenges the brain with a simple puzzle and a short running time, and in the end it offers no answer, remaining freely open for interpretation.

The new Criterion DVD set offers a restored black & white picture and new subtitles rewritten by Polanski himself (though they are unfortunately barely readable as they are in tiny white text on an often white background), plus a second disc with eight of Polanski's short films. It's an incredible addition to Polanski's legacy (though it's a nuisance that you can't rewind or fast-forward during the shorts).

Aka Nóz w wodzie .



Knife in the Water

Facts and Figures

Run time: 94 mins

In Theaters: Monday 28th October 1963

Distributed by: Criterion Collection

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 32

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Andrzej, as Krystyna, as Young Boy (voice), as Young Boy

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.