Repulsion

 (654)
7.61 h 44 min1965X-RayNR
Roman Polanski's chilling psychological thriller stars Catherine Deneuve as a repressed beautician who spirals into homicidal madness.
Directors
Roman Polanski
Starring
Catherine DeneuveIan HenryJohn Fraser
Genres
SuspenseHorror
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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Supporting actors
Yvonne FurneauxPatrick WymarkRenee Houston
Producers
Gene Gutowski
Studio
Columbia Pictures
Purchase rights
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Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

654 global ratings

  1. 67% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 15% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 10% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 4% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 5% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

G WillyReviewed in the United States on January 28, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
From paranoia to madness with a feminist punch
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Repulsion (1965) tells the tale of a mysterious, disturbed young woman who slowly cracks to the point of psychological destruction. For a low-budget film, not only is Repulsion an outstanding cinematic feat, but also comparable to the best horror/psychological thrillers of the time, especially works of Hitchcock. Notably, acute visual details and foreboding sound effects were skillfully employed to set the tone and narrate the story, which were indicative of freshman director Roman Polanski's ingenuity and insight in filmmaking. Although Polanski himself said Repulsion is too slow in the first half, he still managed to make the most simple and routine events interesting and captivating.

After watching two documentaries and listening to most of a commentary on Repulsion, it's safe to say that Polanski was not attempting to promote feminism. Moreover, it's quite disturbing to realize that the attitudes of men seen in this film were once acceptable. For example, Polanski said it was quite normal when one scene depicted a young woman breaking down because she thought she'd found a man that was different, but came to realize all men are pigs. In fact, throughout the entire film, "normal" men are portrayed as sexual brutes that assert their wills on women, including imposing a John-Wayne-smack across a crying female's face--such behavior was appallingly common in films of this era. Honestly, it was EXTREMELY enjoyable watching the bloke that broke the door down getting his comeuppance with a candlestick in the foyer by Miss Ledoux. Albeit it wasn't meant to be pro-feminist in theme, Repulsion sure as hell comes across that way today, which makes it even more meaningful in current times.

The Criterion Collection's 2009 release of Repulsion on Blu-ray is the best choice if interested in adding this awesome movie to one's home entertainment library. It includes two documentaries with Polanski and some of his crew, a commentary, excellent audio/video quality, impeccable English subtitles, and an insert with a short essay.
15 people found this helpful
slaytanic6deicide6death6Reviewed in the United States on June 4, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Criterion Collection!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Criterion collection is definitely the greatest independent film company going. There transfers both video and audio are superb the packaging is always great and there choice of films is amazing. I collect nothing but horror from scream factory to kino's to 88 films to arrow to vinegar syndrome etc etc and criterion kills them all no pun intended. Great film great company.
6 people found this helpful
Adam S. CunninghamReviewed in the United States on September 10, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
although she is beautiful, it becomes clear very quickly that she is ...
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This movie rewards the patient. I sat through the first 20 minutes increasingly thinking, WTF? To say the pace is languid is an understatement. It appears to follow a somnolent young woman around her dreary daily life in an indifferent London rather listlessly - and, although she is beautiful, it becomes clear very quickly that she is not a woman one wants to be around.

In fact, during this rising action (exposition is almost non-existent), Polanski is laying the foundation of something essential - the utter alienation of the protagonist from the world around her. Just when you start to think she's just a zombie - and if zombies aren't after people's brains, they're pretty boring - significant events begin to accrue, and then this intense psychological thriller/art film takes off. It never cedes its rhythms to Hollywood-style pacing (particularly by today's frenetic, choppy editing/multiple-shots-per-second standard), but it employs dramatic tension and anticipation with incredible artistry as the screw turns ever so slowly, gradually ratcheting up the horror until you realize you are in a nightmare.

And an arty film it is; the imagery, the camera angles and movement, the sound, the protagonist's increasingly claustrophobic, fetid and homicidal world, the expressionistic depiction of the unraveling of her mind. Additionally, it is unusual in the horror genre to have the main character transform from the innocent, virginal ingenue-as-protagonist (i.e., the archetypal horror-genre victim) into the very author of the only real horror that occurs during the time frame of the film.

This is a brilliant movie that every serious film lover must see.
15 people found this helpful
karmadilloReviewed in the United States on January 11, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
Great release, but not Criterion's best and maybe too pricey for the unfamiliar.
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The audio restoration is pretty much flawless. As for the video, there's one scene where Criterion missed a clear video error. I'm not incredibly savvy with cinematic jargon, but I'm fairly certain it wasn't a "cigarette burn." It's more like a smudge or something that wipes across a portion of the screen when Deneuve's talking with her aspiring boyfriend. I take points off for that, but the video's otherwise lovely in hi-def.

One usually expects a great collection of extras from a Criterion release and, while this one in particular isn't as dense with material as some others, the two included documentaries are around twenty minutes each and offer a good amount of insight into the film's production and development. I always love seeing behind-the-scenes footage and there's a nice amount of it in there with some organic human interaction on set. You also get a booklet with an essay in it. While it mostly just serves as a film analysis, it makes for a decent enough read.

Overall, even if this isn't among Criterion's best work, it's still apparent why their standard of quality sets them apart from some of their competition. Is it worth the price? Eh, that's on you. Personally, I'm very satisfied with it and am just happy the folks at Criterion saw fit to release my personal favorite Roman Polanski film on blu-ray (here's hoping they'll also release "The Tenant" at some point). I'd recommend it for fans, but those unfamiliar with it may want to wait for a sale or something if the price seems a little steep.
3 people found this helpful
Randy KeehnReviewed in the United States on January 15, 2006
5.0 out of 5 stars
Don't Turn the Lights Out
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I am becoming a big fan of Roman Polanski's films. In the last year or so I have had the chance to see his first film, "Knife in the Water", and his most recent film, "The Pianist". Both films showed the brilliant directing skills that Polanski possesses. This made me curious about some of his earlier films which is why I recently purchased "Repulsion".

"Repulsion" is a movie about a young woman who has a deep-seeded repulsion (I was looking for the right word for it and I guess the title is appropriate) to sex. Although not your usual plot, there are probably many things that could be done with this theme from comedy (think Woody Allen) to sensitive love story. Polanski took it to the macabre and horrific with a result that will haunt viewers for years. This is a movie that explores the darkness of the mind in a brilliant mix of fantasy and reality. It is so well done that, once the basic outline of the story has been set, most viewers will be unsure if what they are seeing at any given point is real or imagined. There is enough that IS real to leave us emotionally exhausted by the time full reality returns. In the end we are left with a view of what a deranged mind might look at. That is all the more impressive by use of the innocent-appearing subject played by Catherine Deneuve. Her acting, as well as that of the rest of the cast, is excellent but it is the directing that is the key to the success of "Repulsion". The known and the unknown, the innocent and the brash, the real and the imagined, all are interspliced to keep us on edge and unsure of what we are seeing.

As a rather pointless personal aside, I realized during the film, that it had been the subject of a photo layout in the first "Playboy" magazine I ever purchased in my adolecence. I guess I mention that because the DVD cover coyly suggests that this is a story of "the nightmare of a virgin's dreams becomes the screens shcking reality". I watched it alone lest the subject matter was inappropriate and, I found out that it is inappropriate for younger audiences although not for the reasons I had suspected. This movie deals with sexuality without exploiting the subject. There are visual and audial "suggestions" but they do not cross the line. However, the film is disturbing, to say the least. There are many scenes that will stay with you including one involving a door mirror in motion that was as shocking as any scene I've ever seen. Yet even this is misleading. There is a purpose to everything in "Repulsion" which re-iterates my praise for the director's skills. Many people may find the film's title an apt discription of their reaction to seeing this movie. However, it tells a dark tale eloquently.
11 people found this helpful
Laura TorrespicoReviewed in the United States on January 29, 2005
5.0 out of 5 stars
Sheer Madness
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Cathernie Denueve's performance in Polanski's Repulsion is excellent as she portrays a complex and striking schizoid character that is repulsed by everything. She is repulsed by men, sex, people, germs and life itself. However, she is beautiful, French, shy, and looks stunning walking through the streets of London (makes you wonder when you walk down the street how many people are truly "mad" but just holding it together).
Polanski does an astounding job of spooking you out in this black and white film by portraying the psychological breakdown of this young woman that ends up violently.
Catherine is left alone when her sister and boyfriend leave out of town, and her mental breakdown becomes intensified by wild auditory and visual hallucinations
a clocks constantly ticks, hands come out of the walls to grab her, the walls themselves crack and start falling apart, and she visualizes being raped. She stops working, and keeps rotten meat in the refrigerator. Eventually the apartment is in disarray, she is dirty and has this scary flat and eerie look on her face. Everything is gone wrong.
Polanski's direction is superb as he creates realistic tension and terror, while making, you sympathize for the alienated beauty gone insane. This is a brilliant psychological thriller that should be seen be every Polanski fan.
6 people found this helpful
yummymayoReviewed in the United States on July 30, 2009
5.0 out of 5 stars
BD version.
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This is a review for the Criterion Blu-Ray version...

BD buffs will already attest to a 'no contest' that BD picture and sound quality surpass that of any DVD. Take that approach and apply it to a classic film... once with dust, scratches and a poor audio track. A transfer that was once just available in 4:3 pan & scan. The Criterion edition does not disappoint! I had owned the VHS version of the film for many years, and comparing the two is almost comical. Remember that time when you first compared the same film on DVD and BD and suddenly noticed a million improvements? That's how I feel about this transfer.

Of course, you have to appreciate the film for what it is, the director, and when it was made. You're not going to see some amazing James Cameron-esque special effects and lighting here. Back then there was only so much independent filmmakers could work with, quality of film stocks included. That being said, the grain even still seems to be almost eliminated. Not as if you're watching a film that was shot in HD (you can still pick up on the film grain and the slight 'jumpyness' of the film gate - which adds a lot of charm) but an immaculate version of how the film might have looked with its original intent.

Criterion is doing a great job with these BDs, having enough common sense to wait for the HDDVD/Blu-Ray war to end in order to focus in on having reputable and pleasing transfers. Criterion has shown some signs of slipping in the past. As they grow their criteria for films seems to thin a little, expanding their catalogue to include films like Benjamin Button and Michael Bay movies... all politics aside, they still deliver wonderful transfers and now that they've gotten cracking on the BDs I am sure they will continue to improve and hopefully still maintain the reputation they once established for themselves delivering classic and contemporary movies for everyone out there.

Also, you'll be glad to know that Criterion was smart enough to eliminate those ugly blue cases that most BDs are packed in. They have more specially made cases that are clear and just a couple millimeters deeper (the spine, presumably to make more room for the booklets). Much more attractive on your DVD case than a row of neon-blue cases.
6 people found this helpful
Kenneth Michael PizziReviewed in the United States on July 30, 2006
5.0 out of 5 stars
A most convincing portrait of a young woman's descent into madness...
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Despite Roman Polanski's rather colorful and scandalous private life, as a director he has given us some films that are as disturbing as they are thought-provoking. "Repulsion," starring former Chanel spokeswoman Catherine Deneuve (in the 70's once hailed as the "most beautiful woman in the world") in an utterly convincing performance, is one such film.

A psychological thriller that has achieved virtual cult-status over the years, "Repulsion" is the story of Carol, (Deneuve) a beautiful London manicurist who is repelled by sex and whose erotic and psychotic fixations lead her to insanity and murder.

For the viewer, words "riveting" and "unsettling" describe Carol descent into madness once her roommate-sister (Yvonne Furneaux) and her married boyfriend (Ian Hendry), depart for an extended holiday to Italy and leave her alone in the apartment.

Aside from some of Polanski's obvious visual metaphors; for example, "cracks" in the wall that get progressively larger and more defined symbolizing Carol's progressive dementia, the film offers some truly disturbing images. These include hands that reach through the wall and "grab" Carol as she stumbles down the hall to a scene of her singing while ironing without the iron plugged in.

The film boasts some outstanding performances all around including John Fraser ( El Cid) as Carol's unfortunate boyfriend and Patrick Wymark (The Power Game) as the landlord who makes the fatal mistake of making a pass at Carol when he attempts to pick up the rent at the apartment.

The murders too, although rendered in black and white, are depicted with an almost simplistic brutality that are painful to watch even by today's technicolor HDTV standards. Polanski has convincingly protrayed the mind of a severely disturbed woman whose mental deterioration leads to psychosis, depravity, and sheer terror.

Watching the film is not an enjoyable experience; nor should it be. It is a difficult movie to sit through and not be disturbed by it. In fact, it is a film that will leave you uneasy for days afterwards.

If you think Hitchcock's "Psycho" was the last word in edge-of-your-seat fear, think again.
6 people found this helpful
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