Repulsion’ is Roman Polanski’s first english-language film. The story revolves around a young woman named Carole who suffers from androphobia – the pathological fear of interacting with men. When her sister/roommate Helen leaves for holiday, she recesses into her apartment and suffers from an overwhelming sense of paranoia, frightful hallucinations, and absolute madness.
It’s a simple idea that gets run through the ringer to milk it for all its worth. We witness a woman become so overwrought with fear that she abandons everyone and everything in her life in order to hide. The film is an exercise into the realism of how far an unchecked anxiety can drag a person. She stops doing things like eating and working, and is soon forced to cope with it with forced interactions with colleagues, taxi cab drivers, her landlord, imaginary visitors, and so many other everyday men.
It has a consistently dreadful tone accompanied with some scary imagery and a tragic descent into chaos. For how awful of a person Polanski truthfully is, it’s hard to ignore his craftsmanship. Films like this and “Rosemary’s Baby” still hold strong over 50 years later.
“Repulsion” is available to rent on Vudu, Amazon Prime, and YouTube.
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