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DVD Review: Repulsion

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A lot of people say that Roman Polanski's Repulsion is an extremely disturbing picture. I personally did not find it to be disturbing, but it is certainly a bit twisted. That's something that we have come to expect after seeing many of Polanski's pictures so I don't think one should be surprised at the nature of this movie.

The film is about a young woman named Carole (Catherine Deneuve) who slowly loses her mind and slips into a state of total psychosis. Carole lives with her sister Hélène (Yvonne Furneaux), and works at a salon. Lately her mind has been wandering, and she has been staring off into space, seemingly oblivious to her surroundings. She has been sent home from work early a few times because she's been too absent-minded to do her work, and her coworkers seem worried about her well-being.

Hélène has been too busy with her beau to notice the change in her sister. The two of them are always going out, and have been planning a trip together to Italy. The idea of this trip is greatly upsetting to Carole, who is terrified to be alone, but Hélène thinks her sister will be fine while she is gallivanting in Italy.

After Hélène leaves for Italy things really start to go bad for Carole. She starts hallucinating and she believes that her apartment is falling apart and that there are men waiting around to rape her everywhere. Whether these thoughts of rape are a fear or fantasy is something that the viewer will have to decide. She eventually becomes so paranoid that she turns to violence against anyone that dares come to see her.

Roman Polanski is an absolutely fantastic director who has created many masterpieces, such as Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, and The Pianist. I would not go so far as to say that Repulsion is a masterpiece, but it is still very good. The way Polanski pulls us into Carole's dementia is incredible; sometimes it will have you wondering whether it is real or not. The way he sets up the contrast between the elegant beauty salon and the drab apartment is also very impressive.

Catherine Deneuve does an incredible job in her role as Carole. She has very few lines in the picture and must express her emotions and thoughts through facial expressions. She really pulls you into her world, and you can almost understand the strange and sick things that she does.

The main problem that I had with Repulsion really had nothing to do with the picture, and more to do with the DVD. The film has not yet been released by a major distributor and the audio and video transfer is very poor. As far as I know, it is also not available in a wide screen format, so we miss half the picture in full screen. I know some people don't care about wide screen or full screen, but I can't honestly see those people being interested in a film like Repulsion. I would definitely recommend Repulsion, especially if you're a Roman Polanski fan like myself.

Grade: B

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