Directed by Roman Polanski
Starring: Leon Niemczy, Jolanta Umecka, Zygmunt Malanowicz
Review by Jordan Young
On their way to a sailing trip, an aging husband and wife invite along an emphatic young hitchhiker out of sheer patronization.
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As creepy as it sounds, Roman Polanski was playful. A very playful director, which added to the flexibility in his work. In his 1962 film Knife in the Water, the director shows us how he can have fun, while still conveying a dark, sinister drama.
Andrezj and Krystyna are about to take a weekend and go sailing, On the way, they pass a drifter and invite him along for the ride. The unnamed drifter plays the part of the boy on the quest, and Andrezj assumes he has to mentor the lad and teach him life's lessons.
The playfulness is quickly shown with the angels that Polanski uses in the establishing shots of the the boat at dock. The first time we see the boat, it is on this serene, clear water, but the camera shows the docks at a sharp awkward angle. Polanski could easily be foreshadowing the storm to follow.
Appropriately, the bulk of the tension revolves around the fact that the drifter always carries a knife anywhere he goes. Andrezj grows increasingly paranoid, and then throws his knife in the water, ( I know, very clever title tie in...) The drifter is obviously enraged by this and punches Andrezj in the face. It goes quickly down hill from there.
The film takes a couple twists at the end and leaves the viewers with moral ambiguity, do you see Andrezj, or the drifter as the bad guy? Or, even Krystyna? Great example of how manipulation can be carried out in a film. An excellent study of tension and drama.