The Tenant (Widescreen) (Bilingual) [Import]
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After the triumph of Chinatown, Roman Polanski's The Tenant marked an unsettling return to the horrifying psychodrama of Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby. As in those previous films, Polanski explores a descent into madness with subtle, deliberate pacing and keen attention to accumulating details. Cannily casting himself in the title role, Polanski plays the mild-mannered occupant of a Parisian flat previously rented by a woman who committed suicide by leaping from her upper-floor balcony. The woman's leftover belongings and the harsh attitudes of disapproving neighbors (including Melvin Douglas and Shelley Winters) begin to grate on the new tenant's psyche; his paranoia shifts from simmering anxiety to full-blown psychosis, until fate itself seems to run in a complete, tragically tormenting circle. Polanski masters the material as only he could, and despite some critical drubbing at the time of its release, The Tenant has earned a place among Polanski's finest films. --Jeff Shannon
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The unnerving plot gets underway when Trelkovsky, played disarmingly by Polanski, moves into a creepy Parisian apartment building, into a flat in which the previous tenant committed suicide. Trelkovsky gradually grows suspicious that some of his disgruntled, crabby neighbors would like to see him do the same thing. The outstanding cast includes Melvyn Douglas, Jo Van Fleet, Shelley Winters and Isabelle Adjani, all seemingly having a great time with an utterly mesmerizing story.
The film has high production values, including gorgeous, moody photography by the great Sven Nykvist (who often photographed for Ingmar Bergman), and an appropriately eerie score by Philippe Sarde. The DVD transfer is beautifully clear.
Not everyone will warm up to the bizarre, shocking ending -- and I can't possibly give away any of the details -- but suffice to say that it shows Polanski in a way that few have seen him. For all the attention that "Chinatown" gave this director in 1974, this film, coming two years later, is just about as striking in a completely different vein.
The main thing that drew me to this movie was that it was directed and starred Roman Polanski, who I've always heard good things about, (except for that pedophile incident he had, that's very bad). He plays a man who tries to be good and never means harm to anyone but his world turns upside down as soon as he gets hassled by his annoying neighbors. Later on he'll be lost in his mind, not knowing who to trust, except for his love interest, the friend of the girl that commited suicide which he meets at the hospital. Story, which is based on some novel, is great because it tells you about the tragedy of a man falling victim to an unfair world. You really see and feel how insane he goes with the good story pacing. Not too much freaky stuff was given in the beginning so the movie progressed well, leaving you with more of an impact from the pyschological mess the main character is in.
There's a few humorous parts but it's mostly dark and dramatic. I highly suggest this film for anyone that wants a horror film with depth. There isn't any gore or graphic violence, just a good old freaky story that will keep you on your seat wandering how the main character will react to all his thoughts, assuming you're not too impatient with story's pacing.
Polanski plays Monsieur Tarkovsky, a shy introvert (slightly neurotic) who wants nothing more than some meagre lodgings in a rather ugly, creepy apartment building. God knows why, but it sets up the framework for a really believable, chilling descent into madness.
Tarkovsky is consistently abused, harassed, and put down by both the absurdly stingy landlord (a hideous old man) and his neighbors. Not only that, it seems that everyone (or is this just his imagination?) sees striking similarities between him and the woman who jumped from the apartment room he is living in.
There are memorable scenes in which he is frantically offered her brand of cigarettes, coffee, etc. Perhaps Polanski wants us to see in Tarkovsky the male echo of the former tenant; perhaps the movie is a reminder of the power of suggestion. At any rate, it doesn't take long for Tarkovsky to reach breaking point.
Crossdressing (and having an utterly pointless, unbelievable affair with the woman's friend--someone was looped behind the camera), he hallucinates her figure in the apartments across from the building. He finds (or does he?) teeth in the walls, and an array of dresses he is quick to try on. His behavior becomes more and more irrational. He slaps a child who has a slit in his teeth resembling the woman, he asks to buy a gun at a bar, and at long last withdraws from his obnoxious and ridiculously 'American' friends into a world all his own. The ending is both predictable and unpredictable, and sometimes strikes one as funny, sometimes as awful.
What I don't understand is why more people aren't aware of this film, as it definitely one of the most powerful pieces of filmmaking I have ever seen. Aside from a few scattered absurd scenes, the entire thing is chillingly believable. I'm not surprised that Polanski himself played Tarkovsky.
THE TENANT is a filmic exercise in existentialist paranoia. It begins with the eponymous character, Trelkovsky (Polanski), attempting to rent a Paris apartment that he has heard is now vacant. As he previews the flat and negotiates rent, he gets snippets of information about the former tenant--a girl who committed suicide by flinging herself out the apartment's only window.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Great movie that I've seen several times, unfortunately I do not own it yet as my order has yet to arrive almost 3 months later.Published 16 months ago by Jason Rowlands
Polanski's reputation precedes him and perhaps this is why his films seems very difficult to find, particularly some of the older ones. Read morePublished 19 months ago by starchoice
I read the book and then saw the film. I felt rather weirded out by the movie, and really just felt that I was getting some insight into Roman Polanski's true personality, via the... Read morePublished on May 21 2013 by Samantha K Krewulak
It's inside my head and I can't get it out.
When you watch this one for the first time you think; what the....? But you are compelled to watch it again and again. Read more
The best Polanski film i have seen yet. It's simply brilliant.The acting is realy good.I was stun by the plot but specially by it's spectacular ending.Published on Dec 13 2006 by Eric Simard
polanski films should be watched chronologically. the tenant stars polanski and documents his ascent into madness. Read morePublished on March 8 2005 by Ashley Allinson
polanski films should be watched chronologically. the tenant stars polanski and documents his ascent into madness. Read morePublished on June 21 2004 by Ashley Allinson
Original. Witty. Ironic. Creepy. Thoughtful. Detailed. VERY KAFKAESQUE.......For anyone who has ever felt like they had to be quiet when coming or going from their... Read morePublished on May 25 2004
Roman Polanski plays Monsieur Trelkovsky, and rents the apartment previously lived in by a suicide. He meets her friend, Stella, at the hospital, and subsequently go to Bruce Lee... Read morePublished on May 23 2004 by K. Gittins
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