SHOCKtober 2012 – Day 17: The Tenant (1976)

The Tenant bills itself as a psychological suspense thriller. If you held a gun to my head, I might give it the psychological part, seeing as at the end the guy may or may not be crazy. I could even be generous and give it the suspense part, as there are many parts of the film where I had no idea where it was going. But thriller? No even close.

I’m pretty certain the 90% fresh rating the movie holds on Rotten Tomatoes has to be either from former or current film students who admired the technical construction of the movie, or from people who simply saw Roman Polanski’s name and gave it a pass, because it seriously cannot be for the plot, which is sullen, plodding and dull. It is full of subtleties so subtle that they barely differentiate themselves from the plot, and subtleties so subtle that they feel like being hit by a truck. No more than fifteen minutes in I thought I had this movie figured out, I knew where it was going, and then I settled in to wait for this psychological suspense thriller to take me for a ride… I was extremely disappointed that the movie never deviated course for one minute. It plowed onward directly toward the ending it had framed from the start, it plowed toward it and through it.

Despite the predictable plot, the movie is filmed beautifully. The use of mirrors and camera movements alone makes it worth sitting through once. And the performances of many of the actors, even Polanski himself in the main role, are quite good.

Ah well, at least now I can say that I’ve seen it. Though I suppose I could have always said that, now I just won’t be lying.

Be sure to keep an eye on Final Girl and the rest of SHOCKtober.

UPDATE: Check out other participants – Life Between Frames, Blog @ Rotten Cotton

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