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Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired

Rated: No rating 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: July 11, 2008 Released by: Think Film

This insightful, clear-headed look at the notorious director's statutory rape case is an edge-of-your-seat documentary.

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired hardly exculpates the now-75-year-old tragic figure best known for his cinematic achievement in pictures like Rosemary's Baby and Chinatown. He thrived in London in its "swinging" 60s period and later in Hollywood having endured horrible personal losses of his mother (in a Nazis concentration camp) and wife Sharon Tate (eight months pregnant) at the hands of Charles Manson and his "Helter-Skelter" entourage.

Many think they know the important points in Polanski's case, the result of his guilty plea of illicit intercourse after a photo shoot with a 13-year-old (now 45) after a long courtroom battle being his relocating to France from the United States. He is still bound overseas by extradition and has recently been seen on screen in fluff like Rush Hour 3.

This unsensationalistic approach under the adroit direction of Marina Zenovich incorporates some of Polanski's work with lots of archival footage. There is plenty of talking heads that shed light on the case, from the legal world and the victim (who publicly absolved him in 1997), though not with the fugitive who last made Tess before the unsavory incident.

One gets a sense of how Polanski might not have been able to shake "the devil inside him" and how he may be realized for what he did in the public eye. Notions of celebrity, media frenzy, and unbridled power show how far the wanton lines of morality spread beyond the indiscretion itself. For those who have appreciated the professional life of Polanski, who could perhaps have remained a key person in Hollywood (as hindsight often indicates), it finally culminated in the personal, poignant The Pianist in which the Oscar-winner was notably absent.

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Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired        B+                  B+ 

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