Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 23


Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,227
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Movie Info

Roman Polanski and Gerard Brach wrote this memorable black comedy about an uptight recluse and his nymphomaniacal young wife, whose stormy existence in an isolated British castle is turned upside down when two wounded gangsters break into their home and take over their lives.

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Iain Quarrier
as Christopher
Geoffrey Sumner
as Christopher's Father
Renee Houston
as Christopher's Mother
Marie Kean
as Mrs. Fairweather
Robert Dorning
as Mr. Fairweather
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Critic Reviews for Cul-de-Sac

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (5)

  • As a study in kinky insanity, Cul-de-Sac creates a tingling atmosphere. This sags riskily at times when the director unturns the screws and does not keep control of his frequently introduced comedy.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • If the subject matter is bleak and bitterly serious, the tone throughout is darkly comic, while the precise imagery effortlessly conveys the tension, the claustrophobia, and the madness of the situation.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • After two clean hits -- Knife in the Water and Repulsion -- Roman Polanski is entitled to one wild swing.

    May 9, 2005 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…
  • This much sounds like a standard horror-film outline, especially since Stander looks amazingly like Frankenstein. But Polanski ignores the horror to concentrate instead on macabre humor.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • One of the best and purest of all his works.

    Sep 6, 2003 | Full Review…
  • The sheer affectedness of the whole thing... rocks the film off its foundations and leaves one irritated to watch a talented director going through the motions of proving what an enfant terrible he is.

    Jan 22, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Cul-de-Sac

  • Jul 26, 2012
    Cul-De-Sac is Polanskis favorite film an its truly a unique and Ironic one. It was shot so perfectly,every single angle was perfect. Polanski created a new world on this island. A new isolated strange disastrous world. This is what shows that he is the bet director, ever. The plot is simple, a man who gets in "trouble" holds a married couple hostage. He ruins there telephone, chicken ken, and there relationship. The wife seems to wear the pants in the relationship and the husband is a coward. It is something new but it's not something great. Good but not great, as I would call his films of The Pianist, Rosemary's Baby, and Chinatown. It's Black & White which gives it a mediaeval effect which is reflected in the beautiful character of the wife, who was casted at the last moment. I can see why some call it the best and why some hate it, I certainly don't feel either. It is enjoyable and is the first and last of its type, therefore as an art house film it gets a positive rating from me.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Dec 24, 2011
    Reminds me of "A Clockwork Orange" but goes farther in depicting and giving a sense of alienation Confusing and compelling film from the first few minutes to the last. Very quirky characters in a very absurdist story. Dickie, a gangster, comes to a remote island castle to contact his boss to come pick him up. His stay at the castle involves taking the couple who live there hostage. His weird associate dies there and things get even crazier when the couple receive some unexpected guests and Dickie must play butler. Interesting to watch despite being very out there. The characters of George and Teresa are very disturbing to watch because their relationship is quite strange. Overall a good and unique film viewing experience.
    G S Super Reviewer
  • Nov 29, 2011
    "Cul-de-sac" is an absolute madhouse of a film. Unpleasant as it is to watch, there are some interesting scenes that are occasionally very funny. Muddled cinematography doesn't make looking at "Cul-de-sac" an easy task, but the acting is so wacked-out and crazy that it's very hard to look away. Overall, "Cul-de-sac" is a a very, very strange film. Those accustomed to mainstream cinema should look elsewhere.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Sep 24, 2011
    Polanski adapts the style of Knife in the Water in an unusual crime movie where all characters have suiting, bizarre features in them. Fun and campy for the right reasons with some technically surprising sequences including the large beach scene. I was expecting more madness or unusual twists in here but, all in all, it's a great classic in Brittish territory. 93/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer

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