Knife in the Water was Roman Polanski's first feature film and it earned him an Oscar nomination. The title intrigued me and I decided to take a look at it. I'm glad I did, because although the story is a straightforward one, and it would be a stretch to call this black and white movie a crime film, it's certainly strong on suspense and atmosphere.
Andrzej, a middle-aged sportswriter and his younger wife Krystyna are out driving one day when they come across a young hitch-hiker, whom their car nearly hits. Andrzej starts talking to the young man, whose name we never learn, and offers him a lift. They arrive at a lake where the couple are to go sailing. Andrzej invites the young man to join them, and he accepts.
What follows is a sort of duel of contrasting personalities and lifestyles. Andrzej is a show-off, but perhaps past his prime, and once Kyrstyna puts on her bikini, it's foreseeable that the young man will take an increasing interest in her. He's a free spirit, and the two of them have something in common. But she's become accustomed to the good life.
This is a spare, subtle film, and although you could say that it's slow, and that not much happens, I didn't mind that. The focus is on the quiet interplay of the characters, the shifts of power, the revelations of personality. Overall, this is a film which deserves its reputation and which hasn't suffered too much through the passage of time.