At the start of "Repulsion" -- the concentrated piece of shock treatment Roman Polanski made in 1965 -- a sick but deceptively pretty person ( Catherine Deneuve) faces a fortnight alone in an apartment she usually shares with her sister (Yvonne Furneaux). Deneuve alone intuits how loony she'll get: in vain, she begs her sibling to stay with her. In isolation, Deneuve scrapes psychic bottom. Petrifying hallucinations emanate from cracks in walls, and Polanski's hyper-conscious technique grabs audiences in a headlock. A thread of feminist satire runs through Polanski's narrative: Deneuve puts desirous men out of their misery -- literally. Polanki's straight-razor intelligence endows her bad dreams of rape and entrapment and the panicky murders she commits with an undiminished fright quotient. Deneuve does the best acting of her career, investing this pale manicurist with an underlying tautness that jumps out in gestures as jagged as busted springs.
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