Death and the Maiden

Paulina Escobar (Sigourney Weaver) is a former political activist and torture victim. Her husband, Gerardo (Stuart Wilson), has just been appointed to head a commission on human rights violations under the old regime. One stormy night, the couple receives an unexpected visitor, Dr. Miranda (Ben Kingsley), who drops Gerardo off at the Escobars’ isolated house after his car breaks down. Could the good doctor be Paulina’s former torturer?

Rating: 7 out of 10

It’s impossible not to see the correlation between this story and Roman Polanski’s own life. In the film, a man is held at gunpoint and put on trial by the woman he raped and abused. It’s the chickens coming home to roost very similar to what Polanski’s life should feel like. Instead, he’s hiding out in Europe and avoiding the justice that was never served to him.

Putting all that aside, this is a film that has quite a bit of tension and some solid directing. But, it’s the performances of both Ben Kingsley and Sigourney Weaver that keep this movie from falling prey to feeling ridiculous. Their portrayals are so believable that I can’t imagine what the film would have been like without them. If there’s a weak component to the film it would be the writing. There are a few twists and turns that go a bit awry where it could have been more focused. It’s at its best when it’s focusing on the victim becoming the predator and its worst when it’s thinking of “clever” ways for that role to reverse.


One response to “Death and the Maiden

  1. Kind of creepy that Polanski would do a film that mirrors his own life so specifically, isn’t it?

    Kudos for you, Brian, for acknowledging what a scumbag he is.

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