A quiet and shy man, Trelkovsky (Roman Polanski), decides to rent an apartment while working in France. The condo that interests him the most comes with a dark past. One of the dark secrets includes the attempted suicide of the previous Tenant. Nevertheless, Trelkovsky negotiates a price to become “The Tenant”, but it isn’t long until he discovers some strange things occurring within the building and the people who live within the walls.
Without giving too much away, I can admit that I genuinely enjoyed this film when it comes to the thriller/mystery aspect of it. I found myself countless times trying to work out what was going on in regards to the plot, and I came up with many ideas as to what this film’s ending could look like. No matter what my thoughts were, this film seemed to turn and twist and surprise me at every point.
Fun fact- not only is actor Roman Polanski the lead actor, but he is also the film’s director! Roman Polanski has done a fantastic job in both areas. As an actor, he’s incredibly convincing, and as a director, well, this brings me to my next praise point.
The film’s style is dark and uncomfortable (that’s a good thing!). This film isn’t aiming for gore or jump scares. Some scenes simply build tension and become uncomfortable for the viewer. I can’t remember the last time I had these types of feelings when watching a film. It’s not a “pretty” looking film either. It’s quite dark and cold looking which again sets the film’s mood (such as dark themes, paranoia, distance, discomfort etc.)
By the film’s 3rd act, many elements of the plot are revealed, but it’s also up to the viewer to make their own opinion about certain features. It’s very risky for a filmmaker not to spoon-feed the audience when it comes to twists and turns, but the film will leave you thinking and perhaps entice a rewatching for a greater understanding of the plot and reveal. The film’s build-up to the 3rd act reminded me ever so slightly of something “Hitchcock” perhaps might have done.
Overall, The Tenant is a great and yet uncomfortable thriller. It is a film that brings so much mystery and tension, leading to a powerful and confronting 3rd act. The acting and Directing by Roman Polanski is compelling, and he brings a filming style and direction that I wish we had more of in films of the present day.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden