Roman Polanski's masterpiece Repulsion comes out on Criterion Collection DVD and Blu-Ray today. Because of its subversive, suspense/horror nature, it has never truly been counted as a proper cinema classic until now; that Criterion packaging has a way of turning any film into a classic. In it, Catherine Deneuve stars as a sexually repressed young woman who is left alone in a London apartment for a weekend. Before long she begins to experience all types of horrible images, from hands sticking out of a wall to rape and murder.
The great thing about Repulsion is that it's a perfect summation and distillation of Polanski's pet themes: the single, lone hero against the world; maybe it's paranoia and maybe it's not, but the battle remains the same. (Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.) Like Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang and Brian De Palma, Polanski has made a career of exorcising his inner demons on film, and the result has been remarkably consistent, even though he has touched upon many different genres. Unlike his three colleagues, however, Polanski has come the closest to mainstream acceptance, in that he won the 2002 Best Director Oscar for The Pianist. Despite that, however, he remains an outsider, a marginalized figure, rather than the world master he should be.