How Roman Polanski captivated the viewer in "Rosemary's Baby."

Essay by roochaHigh School, 10th grade August 2005

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Rosemary's Baby (1968) by Roman Polanski is a movie that holds your attention from the beginning to end in a supremely intelligent way. The movie, which basically follows Ira Levin's satanic thriller describes about ten months in the life of a newly married couple, Guy and Rosemary. Polanski keeps his audience interested and alert by creating ambiguity, or confusion, between fantasy and reality. The confusion is created by the partial information that we get, the time and place of the plot, things people say, and by components such as sounds, light, and shadows.

The plot can be interpreted in two ways. It is possible that this is a story about a conspiracy planned by a satanic cult together with Guy, the husband. He gets a central role in a play, and becomes a sought after actor, with the help of the cult. In return, he allows them to use his wife to give birth to their newborn leader, the son of Satan.

Another way the movie can be interpreted is that this is a story about a vulnerable young woman who is stressed out by her pregnancy, isolation, and superstitions, thus starting to imagine a diabolical plot. The audience is not able to determine which way to understand what is being presented to them until almost the end of the movie. By that, Polanski creates continuous suspense and involvement.

The mood of the film and its ambiguity are established from the beginning. The movie starts as the camera gives us an aerial shot of Manhattan. We see big blocks of buildings, in light grey, that place the plot in a modern, urban time and place. But then the camera moves on and downward, approaching a gothic building, in multiple dark brown shades. The ambiguity of the movie starts right...