Rosemary's Baby

Rosemary's Baby ★★★★★

Awful things happen in every apartment house.
-Rosemary Woodhouse

Rosemary's Baby is but one of a multitude of older films that I have no idea if I've ever watched from beginning to end. If I did, chances are it was on television before cable was showing uncut films... so really that shouldn't count anyways. So for those reasons I'm not logging it as a rewatch, even though it seemed like I knew every single beat (surprisingly) of the film.

After this viewing I think it's my favorite Roman Polanski film. Based on Ira Levin's novel of the same name, the film is an exercise in filmmaking perfection. Watching it now especially, it feels like a breath of fresh air in an era where we are bombarded by thrillers that follow the same formulaic plot made by directors that couldn't keep an air of suspense for 30 seconds if their lives depended on it.

Polanski here made a film as if he was playing a game of poker. You never know when he's bluffing and he keeps his cards close to his chest right up to the bitter end. The film, like a poker face from a veteran player, never gives in on letting you know if you're on the right track or not. While modern films will give you a sinister musical queue when a character you're supposed to be suspicious of is introduced, here everything is played on the up and up as if it was just a normal everyday drama. The fact that some of these characters might be up to no good, putting it mildly, doesn't change their social behavior in the slightest and it makes it all the more creepy.

It wasn't her first film, but this is the one that catapulted Mia Farrow's career into stardom and rightfully so. She is simply fantastic running an emotional gauntlet that isn't just good for a so-called horror film, but damn good for any film. Period. The supporting cast gives several great character performances that are also key to what makes this stand out. There's several of them that are uncharacteristic for such a film, but because of that, fit perfectly into it.

There's also several character tell tales that you will probably only spot on a rewatch because they only make sense when you are fully aware of what's going on in the film. It's a clear sign of how meticulous Polanski was in making it, and probably how hard he was to work for. There's also a wickedly dark sense of humor running throughout the film in moments you would least expect. A sign of a filmmaker that has a clear understanding of human nature, cutting tension with humor and vice versa. I could go on and on, but simply put I think it's perfect.

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