Knife in the Water

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 33


Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,786
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Movie Info

Knife in the Water (Noz W Wodzie) was the first feature film effort of Polish director Roman Polanski. Sportswriter Leon Niemczyk and his wife Jolanta Umecka invite baby-faced hitchhiker Zygmunt Malanowicz to join them on a yacht excursion. Sensing that his wife is attracted to Malanowicz, Niemczyk plots to humiliate the boy by showing off his own athletic prowess during the cruise.

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Critic Reviews for Knife in the Water

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (6)

  • Middle-aged cocksureness, arrogance and incomprehension versus teenage revolt, with a young woman as a sort of arbiter, is the theme of this lively and inventive little pic.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • Polanski's first feature, a model of economic, imaginative film-making which, in many ways, he has hardly improved upon since.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Knife in the Water has one of those simple, clearly expressed narratives that grabs you and holds you even though not much goes on.

    Oct 13, 2003
  • It eminently justifies the interest in its acid contents and in the techniques of its young director that it stirred.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Not easily accessible, but a film whose scenes and themes stick with you.

    May 21, 2002 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Andy Jacobs
    Top Critic
  • The sexual tensions build slowly and subtly, and when they explode into violence, it seems to be the desired result.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Knife in the Water

  • Jan 11, 2014
    Although I was expecting a thriller rather than a drama, Knife in the Water is an expertly-made film in nearly every way, and as the debut of director Roman Polanski it foreshadows the rest of his career with heavy use of religious imagery, spectacular cinematography, and a constant sense of tension.
    Joey S Super Reviewer
  • Nov 11, 2012
    An successful middle aged man, a trophy wife, and a young aimless drifter converge for a day's outing on a sailboat ... what could happen next? Polanski seems to suggest that the setup tells the story in this brilliantly filmed black and white drama from 1962, and it does indeed. It does indeed.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Mar 20, 2012
    It was good but not as good as repulsion. The acting and cinematography were great but the film's pacing with its lack of story depth left me somewhat empty at the end.
    paul o Super Reviewer
  • Sep 10, 2011
    A Roman Polanski debut work that strictly features a ménage à trois: a couple and a young stranger, on a sailing trip. Knife In The Water features gradual subtle exposition of tension that has developed into something intriguing. Inventive. Stirring. Dynamic.
    Jan Marc M Super Reviewer

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