Knife In The Water (1962)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
A couple pick up a hitch-hiker and take him onto their boat.

Andrzej and Krystyna, a well off couple, swerve to avoid a hitch-hiker in the road. Andrzej angrily ridicules the hitch-hiker but then chooses to pick him up when he thinks that's what Krystyna would do. They couple take him to their sailing boat and invite him on board.

On board, the hitch-hiker and Andrzej begin a game that sees them both trying to get one over on the other. When the hitch-hiker reveals a lock knife, the game is raised with neither able to escape because of their watery surroundings.

Knife In The Water is a very Roman Polanski film. Despite it being his first theatrical length film, it was clear that even during his late 20's, Polanski was already developing his trademark style - creating films with little relevance to the world but with a big impact.

Knife In The Water is similar to his later work Cul De Sac, in that they both show a seemingly happy couple that are pulled apart by an outside agent - in this case the hitch-hiker. In both films there is never an explosion of emotion, but more an acceptance of the fact that the external factor will be there for a while.

Halfway through the film, I began to realise that I was actually watching a film. Such is the skill of Polanski that you never appreciate the work that goes into it. The cameras flit from being on the sailing boat, to off the sailing boat with such ease. In fact, keeping the flow of the storyline when the cameras are so obviously placed in different positions is impressive to say the least.

Some people will feel robbed - and perhaps even disappointed - by the ending after the premise of the storyline (a clue is that the film is only rated PG), but the character study before this more than makes up for it.



  1. Loving the reviews! What has been your deciding factors on what movies to include for this challenge?

    Visiting from A to Z Challenge!

    1. Firstly I decided to only pick films I haven't seen.

      Then I went through and picked films which I've always wanted to see that weren't on the Empire's 5-star 500 list ensuring that a good variety (not too many horrors or Disney or action etc.). (American History X, Fantasia, The Graduate, In Cold Blood came from this category)

      Once this was done, I filled in with films that I thought looked interesting based on other lists I've added to this blog (Doctor Zhivago, Knife in the Water came from this category).

      I also took some suggestions from my girlfriend (The Breakfast Club, Romeo + Juliet).

      Lastly, I was struggling so ended up going to IMDb and typing the letter of the film I was looking for into the search and then picked one based on IMDb's suggestions (V, Y and X came from this).

  2. Sounds a little creepy, how does it end? And what's a lock knife?

    1. I won't spoil it for those that want to watch it - but it was a little bizarre considering the build up.

      A lock knife is one where the knife folds into the handle (it locks open when out of the handle - hence 'lock knife'). An image can be found here.

  3. Sounds scary!

    Visiting as an A to Z blogger.

    All on and all in the A to Z Challenge:

    Heart of a Ready Writer – Bible & Devotional
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    Nickers and Ink – Featuring favorite classic poems from A to Z
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    Click my name/icon for links to all these blogs! Happy A-to-Z!

  4. I've never heard of this before. I'll have to find it and watch. Thanks for the review.

    Doing A to Z


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