Wayne’s review published on Letterboxd:
Roman Polanski’s 1968 motion picture entitled Rosemary’s Baby is simply not just one of his greatest works in a filmography filled with such an immense amount of star power, but quite simply also one of the greatest psychological horror thrillers the world of cinema has ever had the privilege to bear witness. As a film that doesn’t only just feature such a compelling narrative filled with the utmost tension boiling right from the moment we are immersed into the atmosphere but also a film that features such a sophisticated study on what it means to be entrapped and controlled, this is simply nothing short of a cinematic experience.
And if anything, this is quite the spectacle that flirts with the mythical label of a masterpiece of a motion picture. As one of the greatest spectacles by one of the greatest artists the world of cinema has ever seen, Rosemary’s Baby is undoubtedly one of his greatest films if not his greatest as it’s a sure top 3 alongside Chinatown and The Pianist. To put it into perspective, Rosemary’s Baby isn’t the kind of film that one can fully understand in the first viewing as emotions just appear too raw and subconscious that the subject matter can just go well beyond comprehension.
As a result, this is a film that just gets better and every viewing and that doesn’t necessarily show that the first viewing isn’t the greatest, but rather just too raw. With that said, Polanski pretty much paints a tale about a woman who’s utterly excited for what life upholds as she moves into a new flat with her husband in New York. Accompanied by the slow burn pace seen throughout the first half of the film told from Rosemary’s perspective, not only are we fully immersed into what may seem to be an eerie atmosphere later on, but we also get to know the characters more, especially Rosemary herself.
As she remains rather joyous about life as she plans to get a baby, this is aided by the clothes she wears as the colors remain as vivid as ever. However, as Rosemary gets pregnant, this is essentially where things change in the narrative, and remains quite drastic in the best possible way in terms of an audience’s perspective. Coming from the bright vivid colors that represent the excitement for what the future may uphold, it suddenly cuts to a mundane and sinister atmosphere.
Essentially sparking up an ever-evolving paranoia that lingers within Rosemary’s psyche, Polanski underlines the themes of entrapment that may come with urban living and pregnancy as the life she was hoping for never had seemed to be the fairytale it could have possibly been. Courtesy of the slow-burn pace used in the first half aided by the long takes that makes each scene feel so raw and realistic, it makes the audiences know Rosemary and get closer to her, and thus, makes the second act of the film remain much more impactful and profound.
With surrealism and horror to aid the symbols of paranoia that comes within the entrapment of Rosemary’s life seen in the second half of the film, it does get more utterly gripping as we even witness a devil cult and all that sorts that help highlight the pain and paranoia within Rosemary’s pregnancy, and thanks to wonderful orchestration, we audiences along feel all those emotions along with the protagonist. In other words, it’s quite the spiritual experience of both horror and sophistication.