Rosemary's Baby

Rosemary's Baby ★★★★½

Roman Polanski's first American feature is a masterwork of outstanding direction, polished screenplay & stellar performances that may lean towards the supernatural in small doses but what truly makes it an enduring masterpiece of its genre is the seamless manner in which it employs the psychological elements of horror into its premise by creating a chilling sense of dread, paranoia & suspense over the course of its runtime.

Based on the novel of the same name, the story of Rosemary's Baby takes place in the year of 1966 and concerns a young couple; struggling actor Guy Woodhouse & his lovely wife Rosemary, who move into a notorious apartment building in New York and are gleefully greeted by their elderly but eccentric neighbours. The main plot concerns Rosemary's pregnancy as she becomes more n more paranoid & suspects her neighbours to be a part of an occult society.

Written & directed by Polanski, the film marks his American film debut & he really couldn't have asked for a better start. Rosemary's Baby works as an effective thriller in the first watch but it's only after multiple viewings when one truly discovers just how expertly the director has managed to make the smallest of details play a crucial role in shaping up the whole picture. Deftly scripted by Polanski in his first stint as a writer, the film follows the book very closely and is one of the most faithful adaptations in cinema.

Cleverly shot from start to finish and employing excellent use of long takes & camera angles, Cinematography beautifully serves its purpose of encapsulating the entire feature with an eerie, tense & insecure atmosphere which escalates further as the film progresses. Editing is immaculately done as every sequence feels relevant to the plot. And the lullaby that bookends the film is a haunting piece while the other tracks have an unusual presence that ultimately works in favour of the film.

Coming to the performances, Rosemary's Baby features a very reliable cast & benefits greatly from their committed performances. Mia Farrow is immensely convincing as Rosemary & her gaunt appearance only adds more flesh to her character. John Cassavetes doesn't get enough credit for his role but if one looks closely, his behaviour throughout the film already hints at the sinister ending it had in store for the viewers. Sidney Blackmer & Ruth Gordon capture the essence of their characters in an authentic manner and the contribution from rest of its cast is no slouch.

On an overall scale, Rosemary's Baby remains one of the most unsettling films of all time that still hasn't lost much of its potency despite being over 45 years old & continues to reveal more of its brilliance on subsequent viewings. Its real strength lies in its ability to keep the viewers immersed into its intriguing story that wonderfully balances its elements without ever relying on any sort of gore or violence. And the final payoff is absolutely worth the wait. A laudable work of precision craftsmanship & a timeless classic in every sense of the word, Rosemary's Baby comes strongly recommended. Multiple viewings advised.

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