Death and the Maiden (1995)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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In this taut, psychological thriller, the mysterious Dr. Miranda ends up staying the night with Gerardo and his wife Paulina, much to the latter's dismay. Attacking him in his sleep, Paulina binds and gags Miranda, convinced that he is the sadistic doctor who captured and savaged her years before.
Drama , Mystery & Suspense
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Sigourney Weaver
as Paulina Escobar
Ben Kingsley
as Dr. Roberto Miranda
Stuart Wilson
as Gerardo Escobar
Carlos Moreno
as String Quartet Player #3
Krystia Mova
as Dr. Miranda's Wife
Jonathan Vega
as Dr. Miranda's Son
Rodolphe Vega
as Dr. Miranda's Son
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Critic Reviews for Death and the Maiden

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (11)

Polanski certainly gets the maximum voltage and precision out of his story and actors, keeping us preternaturally alert to shifting power relationships and delayed revelations.

Full Review… | February 19, 2010
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Kingsley shrewdly tantalizes the viewer about his identity, and gets to deliver the text's most riveting monologue at the end. The lesser-known Wilson may be the first among equals, impressing strongly as the equivocating husband.

Full Review… | May 25, 2008
Top Critic

Polanski wisely never opens out the action from the remote clifftop house. In keeping things claustrophobic, close-up and ambivalent, he heightens the suspense (not to mention the sexual tension).

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Mr. Polanski treads lightly on the clumsier lines, and sustains tension by creating an elegant, unobtrusive dance with the camera.

May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Death and the Maiden forces the audience to confront questions about torture and punishment.

Full Review… | June 18, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Polanski keeps the situation ambiguous to provoke questions of guilt and responsibility.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Death and the Maiden

During a dictatorship in an unnamed latin american country, Paulina (Sigourney Weaver) was a dissident activist who was tortured in horrible ways and kept alive in order to confess the names of her comrades. Many years later, her husband arrives with a new friend, and she seems to recognize the stranger's voice as the man who inflicted her all that suffering. Gripping stage bound psychological thriller that grows in intensity with each passing minute and conveys all the agony, anxiety, fear and thirst for revenge of a martyr who's now having her turn on the reins. Excellent triad of actor.

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

A little gem from Polanski that no one saw. I haven't seen Sigourney Weaver act this well..ever. Kingsley is always great. I don't need to even say it.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

An excellent drama. Sigourney Weaver plays a disturbed, paranoid ex-political prisoner in an unnamed South American country, married to a lawyer (Stuart Wilson) heading an investigation into allegations of torture under the old regime. She believes she recognises a chance visitor to their home (Ben Kingsley) as a man who raped and tortured her during her incarceration. A fascinating game with constantly shifting alliances ensues as she attempts to extract a confession of guilt from her captive 'guest'. All three lead performances are superb but Stuart Wilson excels, oozing flawed dignity as the idealistic but cowardly husband.

Stephen M
Stephen M

Super Reviewer

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