Rosemary's Baby

Rosemary's Baby ★★★★½

"God is dead! Satan lives!"

Ha, holy shit, now THAT'S an ending.

Those who know me here know I don't watch scary movies. I say "scary" because there can be horror films that I can make it through, like The Silence of the Lambs that I recently saw and enjoyed. But other than a few creepy films here and there, pretty much every movie Hitchcock ever made, and universally acclaimed masterpieces like The Shining, I usually just can't do it. I simply do not like to be or feel scared.

I figured that Rosemary's Baby was an exception that I had to make, seeing its nearly unanimous acclaim, so I finally caved in tonight after some reassurances that it would only disturb me, not scare me. Ha, I guess I have limits.

With that said, I was really impressed with this film. Already an admirer of Polanski's pictures (yeah, I know, it's hard to admire anything else) including Chinatown which I think is brilliant, this is an amazing addition to his career work, his debut American production 50 years ago.

I knew absolutely nothing about this film or anything in the story before watching it. I like approaching movies that way; oftentimes I avoid trailers or articles about films that I'm already interested in because I want not a thing spoiled. I'm glad nothing was spoiled here.

For instance, the darkly comic tones were jarring but perfect. And the dream sequence was one of the most incredible surrealist things I've ever seen in film. And the slight hints of something almost like gaslighting made this so much more psychologically deep and twisted than I'd have predicted. And the not-so-subtle religious allegories and terror of organized paranoia... well I can't be more atheist than I already am, but I would if I could!

Mia Farrow is ridiculously great. The progression to hysteria, combined with her gaunt appearance, exemplified in that unbroken astoundingly great take in the phone booth... my goodness.

The way that tension is built, then suddenly relieved just for a moment, then built up again in a rush, it's all done so perfectly and with such devilish purpose. And the musical score, almost playful in a way for such a large portion of the film, turns it up to 11 just at the right moment. Fortunately this Criterion Collection came with a documentary film about the composer, Krzysztof Komeda, that I'll be excited to watch later.

Man, I can't recommend this enough. Blown away and ashamed I shied away from Rosemary's Baby all these years.

Added to Roman Polanski ranked.
Added to My Subjective List of the Best Narrative Films.

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