Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Subscribe: Get 6 Issues For £15
Get Empire magazine today and save money!
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Catherine Deneuve
Ian Hendry
John Fraser
Yvonne Furneaux
Patrick Wymark.
Directors
Roman Polanski.
Screenwriters
Roman Polanski.
Running Time
105 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Honeymoon
3 Star Empire Rating
Last Impresario, The
3 Star Empire Rating
I Origins
4 Star Empire Rating
Soul Boys Of The Western World
4 Star Empire Rating
What We Did On Our Holiday
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Repulsion
Polanski's property horror


submit to reddit


Plot
Carol Ledoux, a Belgian manicurist living in London, is left alone in a flat when her sister goes on holiday with her married lover and spends a week going mad.


Review
Repulsion

Roman Polanski’s first English-language film. It was conceived as an entry in the new-horror sub-genre that had been created (and named) by Psycho, but takes a different approach to terror. We only discover that Norman Bates is a psychpath at the end of Alfred Hitchcock’s film, but Polanski locks us in with Carol from the first, forcing us to share her warped perceptions. He films early ‘60s London with a foreigner’s eye, as Carol flinches from aggressive workmen, pub bores or eccentrics and drifts off while her customers chatter away while she polishes their nails.
 
When Carol retreats to a cavernous Earls Court flat, Polanski terrifyingly depicts her hallucinations – clutching hands which reach through the walls – and parallels the decay of her mind with the rotting of a rabbit she intended to cook but has just left out on the sideboard.  She always sees men as a threat, and eventually takes a knife to the guilty – her bullying landlord – and innocent – her nice would-be boyfriend – alike. 
 
Hitchcock ends the film with a lecture on why Norman is mad, but Polanski just closes in on a family photograph to drop hints about the roots of the blonde angel’s insanity. Rather than making a mad person scary, the film terrifies by giving an audience a sense of what it’s like to lose sanity.  It’s a film full of perfect little details, like the commingled look of appalled disgust and guilty fascination on Ian Hendry’s face as he finds a butchered corpse in the bath – torn between looking away and looking closer.


Verdict
If hell is in the details, Roman Polanski has captured it here in his disturbing portrait of falling into psychosis.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Repulsion
Empire Star Rating

Creepy and Intelligent

Roman Polanski's crafty psychological thriller deals with lonliness, anxiety, and sexual repression, presenting us with a chilling visual narrative filtered through the anti-heroine's distorted point of view. There is an inherently voyeuristic quality to the film - the camera is almost always following someone, and, at times, gets uncomfortably close to its subject, reinforcing our sense of unease. Repulsion is like a bad dream: you don't watch it, you feel it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by movienut707 at 20:22, 27 February 2013 | Report This Post


Very disturbing

There's no getting around it. This is a hard film to watch. But in the best possible way. Say what you want about his personal life, but Polanski is a genius with a camera. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Mr Gittes at 16:38, 06 February 2013 | Report This Post


Catherine Deneuve

She is Farenheit 451 in this, stunning. Even Kim can't get this review wrong. Great movie, I wanna see it again. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Normal Control at 01:35, 02 January 2013 | Report This Post


tp://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059646/]Repulsionoman Polanski`s first film in the English language tells the story of the Belgian Carole (Catherine Deneuve) who shares an appartment with her sister in London. When her sister goes on holiday with her boyfriend she stays home alone and slowly but surely starts suffering from psychosis and delusions, resulting in a bunch of violent acts. During the film Polanski creates an atmospere that makes his audience go through the same state of mind as Deneuv... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 21:14, 06 March 2011 | Report This Post


Repulsion

Polanski crafts one of the most disturbing and hellish visceral experiences perhaps ever committed to film. One woman's descent into madness. The constant atmosphere of impending doom and the palpable melancholy feel gives "Repulsion" one of it's greatest strengths. Also, the acting is simply stunning from all cast members. Classic Polanski. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by krisjcummins at 00:20, 27 May 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Repulsion

Marvellous film and utterly absorbing cinema, with fascinating performances and a strange intimacy with it's ominous atmosphere. The only criticism I have of Repulsion is that it tends to overshadow 'The Tenant', which depending on interpretations could have been another investigation into the crippling effects of paranoia and subsequent insanity, personally I think it's impenetrable mystery and proximity to Polanski make it a more intriguing film, but in my opinion it is also superior to... More

Posted by Lydia_H at 00:09, 14 March 2007 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi masterpiece

The Future Of Film: Your Favourite Movie WIll Be Crowdfunded
Click here to donate

The Empire Podcast #128: Interviews With Sir Roger Moore And George MacKay
Plus we say goodbye to Richard Kiel and the British Expendables are assembled...

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

Classic Feature: Gods Among Us - Paul Newman
A cat so cool he makes Steve McQueen look geeky.

The Boxtrolls Interviews: The Cast And Crew On Laika's Latest
Sir Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Elle Fanning and more talk stop-motion

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)