A marriage becomes strained when the wife is confronted with a man she is convinced tortured and brutalized her when she was in jail years earlier.
Roman Polanski's film adaptation of Ariel Dorfman's stunning play about the legacy of torture has more in common with the director's first film, Knife in the Water (with all the latter's unnerving ambiguities about power, sexual transgression, and confused alliances among three people) than a straightforward political parable. Sigourney Weaver (a bit underwhelming in this role, but good overall) plays a former political prisoner in an unnamed South American country that has gone democratic. She is married to a government official (fine work by Stuart Wilson) heading up official inquiries into the practice of torture under the former regime. Still shattered by her experience, Weaver's character seeks safe haven in closets of the cliff-top house she shares with her husband. But when the latter comes home in the company of a seemingly nice fellow (a brilliant Ben Kingsley), she believes she recognizes the stranger as the interrogator who raped her repeatedly in prison. She violently takes him hostage, and what ensues is a hurricane of fury and confusion, as Kingsley's terrified character denies all accusations, Wilson's guilt-ridden spouse can't decide whom to defend, and Weaver turns her psychosexual rage into a weapon of humiliation. Dorfman adapted the screenplay himself, but there's no question that Polanski is leading us down a familiar path of human betrayal and terror that he crossed in such films as Rosemary's Baby, Repulsion, and Bitter Moon. At times stunning in its bluntness and compelling to the last, Death and the Maiden literally takes us to the edge of oblivion, where--in Polanski's films--the hardest truths always seem to fall into a heretofore unknown perspective. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This is a beautiful play with no script, only the music to Franz Schubert's string quartet piece of the same name to express the feeling of story. Read morePublished on Aug. 9 2008 by K. McMullen
this is the most intense movie i have ever seen. i thought my heart had stopped at the end. i don't want to give anything just watch it....Published on June 26 2004 by J A. King
The majority of this high rating is due to Kingsley's riveting performance; even when he is just pacing in the background he dominates the screen. Read morePublished on March 28 2004 by Chris Makas
There was something about this movie that was boring. I don't think the acting was anything special and Ms. Weaver...well. .She just didn't come across as a victim to me. Read morePublished on Dec 22 2003 by S. Mitchell