Action / Comedy

IMDb Rating 5.8 10 2872


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August 02, 2016 at 02:52 AM



Roman Polanski as Mosquito
Hugh Griffith as Joseph Noblart
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802.26 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 54 min
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1.7 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 54 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by johanneskirchen 10 / 10

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This movie never ever has been a financial success and many consider it to be Polanski's worst movie ever. This fact proves that only few persons are able to actually recognize what that movie really is, namely an absolute masterpiece. Never ever before a dream was turned that excellently into a movie. Of course, the mainstream viewer's mind is too small to recognize all the Freudian visions hidden in the different scenes. But somebody with a rest of intellect, whose mind is not totally standardized to American mainstream taste, will realize that it actually is not about a soft porn or a comedy but about the visualisation of a dream. Mr. Sigmund Freud had liked it!

Reviewed by TrevorAclea 8 / 10

The dream girl in the House of Dreams

Pretty much Roman Polanski's rarest film these days – the print for the DVD was supposedly stolen from producer Carlo Ponti's vault - What? is a surprisingly enjoyable reimagining of Alice in Wonderland as a 70s sex comedy with Sydne Rome escaping a trio of inept rapists via cable car to a beachside villa where she encounters various human equivalents of Lewis Carroll's creations trapped in their own perverse fantasy worlds. Thus the White Rabbit becomes a doddering caretaker, Tweedledum and Tweedle Dee a pair of ping pong playing layabouts, the walrus a priest on a lilo, the March Hare Polanski's harpoon-wielding Mosquito ("That filthy little dwarf!"), the White Knight Hugh Griffith's dying patriarch and the Mad Hatter Marcello Mastroianni's ex-pimp, ping pong ball crusher and tiger impersonator. Did I mention the American tourists? It has it's own dreamlike logic and acceptance of the absurd that will certainly alienate some viewers as it did most contemporary critics: the only thing that people find hard to accept in this beautiful sun drenched locale are logic and reasons, preferring to stay hidden in their own recurring obsessions. Rome isn't much of an actress but she does have the ability to retain an air of innocence even when completely naked, which is the main demand of the part, and the film is surprisingly well cast, with Mastroianni relishing the chance to play laid-back sleazy and Polanski himself at his funniest when delivering offscreen death threats. It's all nonsense and knows its nonsense – even the end, explaining away its own arbitrary absurdity while revealing the film's title – but if you're simpatico, it's surprisingly seductive nonsense.

Reviewed by Eumenides_0 7 / 10

What can one say?

In my mission to watch every movie Roman Polanski has directed, sooner or later I'd have to watch his least praised work. And What? may well be considered his worst movie. The 1986 parody Pirates surpasses this one quite easily. But Roman Polanski is such a good filmmaker, even his worst efforts shine with talent, intelligence, and humor.

Allegedly based on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the movie opens with Nancy (Sydne Rome), a tourist traveling through Italian; as we meet her she's about to be gang raped by a trio of sleazy Italians who gave her a ride. But she escapes and enters a villa by the sea. She has to take an elevator down to it, and it's up to the viewer whether this underground journey represents Alice's falling down the rabbit hole or a descent to hell.

Hell is perhaps too strong a word, but the villa Nancy finds herself in is nevertheless populated by lost souls consumed by their fantasies, perversions and excesses: there's the lady who strolls naked; the young man who can't stop thinking about sex; the villa keeper always complaining about arthritis but with a knack for piano; there's the owner, Mr. Noblart (Hugh Griffith), who dies after asking Nancy to show him her boobs and vagina. Then there's Roman Polanski playing Mosquito, who's called that way because of his big sting, although it's not what you're thinking about. And finally there's the real star of the movie, Marcello Mastroianni, giving the movie's best performance as Alex, a sado-masochist ex-pimp who likes to be whipped while dressed as a tiger and doesn't mind abusing Nancy while dressed as a Navy admiral.

What? is indefinable: it has no plot, no logic, it flows like a dream and makes as much sense as one. The characters' personality changes all the time, the absurd is always intruding, and poor Nancy is caught in the middle. The movie is full of bawdy humor, unapologetic sexism, gratuitous nudity (as the movie progresses Rome finds herself with less and less clothes until she's naked), and silly violence.

There are two types of strange in cinema: there's mainstream strange - Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton, Charlie Kaufman: for some reason people find these filmmakers difficult, complex, confusing, when in fact they make a lot of sense by the end of the movie. But then there's the real strange, the one that laughs at the childish simplicity of Gilliam and Burton and Kaufman. In that group there are movies like Wojciech Has' The Hourglass Sanatorium, Jaromil Jires' Valerie and her Week of Wonders, David Lynch's Eraserhead and Dusan Makavejev's Sweet Movie. Roman Polanski's movie belongs in this group.

It's not for everyone, which is a pity, for underneath the nonsense there is a movie with a great sense of humor and beautiful cinematography.

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