47 Years of Student Run Cinema
Student Film Society of the Year 2002, 2005, 2006
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Roman Polanski, UK, 1966, 111 minutes
A couple (Pleasance and Dorleac) retreat from the world by living on an isolated island. Their peace is shattered, however, by two gangsters on the run...
In many respects, Cul-de-Sac resembles the brilliant Death and the Maiden, Polanski's most recent film. Most of Polanski's films bear marks of his main themes - sexual perversity, humiliation, and fear (nowhere better analysed than in Repulsion), corruption, the cracking of the thin veneer of normality which hides the seething chaos beneath, and his knife theme which appears in all his films to some extent But they seem to be realised in similar ways in Death and the Maiden and Cul-de-Sac. The same notion of claustrophobic isolation prevails in both, while the sense of tension and uneasiness is skilfully captured.
Cul-de-Sac is a dark and powerfully pessimistic work, yet one which retains a sense of surreal wit and very black humour. Perhaps not Polanski's best, but still very watchable.
Review by Matthew Bull
Taken from EUFS Programme 1995-96