The Past is Unwrapped in Joel Edgerton’s The Gift

The Gift opens on ominous shots of an abandoned, modernist mansion, grey stone and brown wood gleaming dully in the afternoon L.A. sun. Soon, Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall), a professional couple from Chicago, will be escorted through the hollow house by a real estate agent. But for now it lies dormant, the…

Lyle (2014)

Rosemary’s Baby is arguably a perfect film; it stands to reason that Stewart Thorndike’s low-budget lesbian riff on Polanski’s classic would fall short of its source material. Her adaptation, Lyle, doesn’t follow Rosemary’s Baby to the letter – the couple is composed of two women, they already have a child when they move into a…

Annabelle (2014)

Annabelle (2014)

It’s easy to forgive horror films their sins if they’re actually scary. If Annabelle had been a genuinely frightening film, I could’ve happily forgiven its hollow Polanski references – ranging from a host of Rosemary’s Baby quotations to a Charles Manson’s appearance on television. I wouldn’t have had a problem with how it mishandles/abandons its…

Ewan McGregor in The Ghost Writer (2010)

The Ghost Writer (2010)

The Ghost Writer is a tense, understated thriller, eschewing violence for political intrigue. Director Roman Polanski channels his classic noir Chinatown, with Ewan McGregor’s ghost writer standing in for Jack Nicholson’s private detective, with the corruption here inspired by Tony Blair rather than California’s seedy underbelly. There’s also an inversion of Polanski’s “predicament” in Pierce…

Repulsion (1965)

Everyone should be able to relate to Roman Polanski’s Repulsion – after all, who hasn’t gone a little crazy when their flatmates went out of town? Spending the week in the same dressing gown, killing time (and maybe some other things) … we’ve all been there. Repulsion is a dizzying spiralling descent into psychosis, crafted…