Venus in Fur (2014)
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Critic Reviews for Venus in Fur
Like "Carnage," "The Pianist," "Rosemary's Baby" and more, Roman Polanski's latest is a creepy exploration of claustrophobia and perversity that should not be missed.
Wickedly smart and wickedly playful, Roman Polanski's adaptation of David Ives' Tony-nominated Venus in Fur works on so many levels, it's almost dizzying.
Never underestimate Roman Polanski.
The haunted-house lighting is a perfect match for the claustrophobic intimacy of this two-hander - and camouflage, perhaps, for the fact that "Venus in Fur" remains more play than film.
Audience Reviews for Venus in Fur
A darkly erotic film about an actress auditioning for a role in a play, based on the classic novel by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. The play is being directed by the playwright who, in the opening scene complains loudly to someone on the phone that he cannot find anyone right for the part. In walks Vanda and what ensues is a cat and mouse game as Vanda slowly takes control of the audition, the play, and eventually, the playwright himself. Only the two actors ever appear on screen, but the interplay is electrically charged as we watch Thomas give up control to Vanda. I was fascinated to watch it unfold. By the end, the viewer is left questioning just what happened.
A writer/director who is auditioning actresses for the lead in his play about an S&M relationship meets an actress who epitomizes the same dynamic. This film is off the hook. There are times when the film had me completely seduced and captivated, but then it would take a left turn, and I had to decide whether to follow it or not. This pattern repeated throughout the film's action until the climactic moment when it got too extreme and ridiculous. I think we need to know the answers to some of Thomas's questions: how does Vanda know the script? What is her relationship with his wife? What are her real motives for being there? Her answers to these questions are dubious, and we're not sure she's trustworthy, but I needed more. The performances by Emmanuelle Seigner and Mathieu Amalric are excellent, and it takes excellent performances to make a two-hander work. Overall, there's a lot to like about this film, and it takes courage to like it.
David Ives' stage play seems tailor made for Roman Polanski. Claustrophobia, erotic tension, role games, submission and offbeat idiosyncratic humor, in tone with his early films like Knife in water and cul-de-sac, minus their uniqueness.
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