3 April 2003 | manuel-pestalozzi
Shallowness at its very best
Cul-de-sac is a very beautiful black and white movie. It belongs to the lightweight category. The story is weird in an entertaining way, often amusing and sad at once. If the director tried to be willingly shallow, he was very successful. And I do not mean that ironically but say it with awe.
The place is Holy Island, on the east coast of Northern England. It actually gets cut off with the tide. Polanski makes very good use of the location and was very lucky with the casting. All characters are rather detestable in a detached sort of way. Donald Pleasance gives the performance of his life as the emasculated, utterly humiliated owner of the castle on the island. The other two main characters are the brisk yet elf like Françoise Dorléac and Lionel Stander as a gruff, brutal gangster. There is a very strange, truly unique chemistry between Dorléac and Stander. Dorléac does something to Stander. «We call dees a bicycle», she says gleefully with her funny accent, and it nearly knocks me off my chair every time I see that well filmed, suspenseful scene. I wont tell you what «de bicycle» is it may need parental guidance to watch it but does not belong to the restrictable area. Cul-de-sac has a very memorable musical score.