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View All Death and the Maiden News
All Critics (49)
| Top Critics (11)
| Fresh (41)
| Rotten (8)
| DVD (1)
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.
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.
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).
Mr. Polanski treads lightly on the clumsier lines, and sustains tension by creating an elegant, unobtrusive dance with the camera.
Death and the Maiden forces the audience to confront questions about torture and punishment.
Polanski keeps the situation ambiguous to provoke questions of guilt and responsibility.
It's based on the gripping three-character play by Ariel Dorfman.
Even by their high standards, the performances of Weaver and Kingsley here are impressive, and Polanski ratchetts up the tension nicely. A chilling and thought-provoking piece.
The material is well served by director Roman Polanski, who knows well how to instill a subtle, claustrophobic sense of dread in an audience and has put together a rather elegant potboiler.
Polanski kicks the movie up to a level of emotional violence rare in English-speaking films.
Polanksi's direction is crisp and precise but he doesn't resolve basic problems of the stage-to-screen transfer: The tale is claustrophobic (mostly limited to one set) and schematic, with all three characters serving as ideological mouthpieces.
A relentless, superb thriller.
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.
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.
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.
A raw and rough character-driven piece. Sigourney Weaver is wonderfully powerful as the woman turning the tables by taking hostage the man who raped and tortured her (Ben Kingsley). It doesn't get too nasty. The situation is very interesting.
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