Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out

Directed by Marina Zenovich, Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out is a sequel to Zenovich’s 2008 film Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired that explores Roman Polanski’s extradition battle in 2009 over the 1977 statutory rape crime that he committed as the U.S. wants to arrest him for that charge. The film explores Polanski’s legal battle to fight the U.S. justice system as well as what happened to him in Switzerland when he was arrested where Zenovich reveals some links into what happened and such. The result is a very fascinating and compelling documentary from Marina Zenovich.

In 2008’s documentary film Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, director Marina Zenovich wanted to explore Polanski’s 1977 case over raping 13-year old Samantha Gailey at Jack Nicholson’s house in Los Angeles where he was later arrested and plead guilty to the charge only to flee the U.S. due to a miscarriage of justice by a judge who wanted to sentence Polanski even worse than his original sentence. In the fall of 2009 when Polanski flew to Zurich, Switzerland to attend its film festival to accept an award, he is arrested by the Swiss government for that case where Zenovich makes her follow-up to examine the extradition case and why did the Swiss rat out Polanski to the U.S.

While Zenovich is featured in the documentary where she used her film as evidence in the extradition case in Los Angeles. She also examined what might’ve motivated the Swiss to give in to the U.S. where it might’ve involved their own troubles with their banks as the U.S. were demanding records over any U.S. accounts in their banks. Even as she interviews journalists and legal advisors who believe that there might’ve been a link into why the Swiss wanted to turn Polanski over the U.S. authorities where he would end up being arrested and later in house-arrest in his home in Gstaad for more than 260 days. Though Polanski nor his wife Emmanuelle Seigner and their children are interviewed for the documentary. They are featured where Seigner, through news clips, reveals her own feelings as well as well as some of the things she and her children had to go through in Paris during this ordeal.

Then there’s Samantha Geimer (nee Gailey) who is the victim the case as she is interviewed along with her mother as Geimer gives her opinion about the extradition case. Notably as she is upset over the fact that it took the U.S. justice system a long time to do that and bring all that pain back to her family who wanted to move on from the incident. It’s not just Geimer and her family who were suffering from the ordeal but also Polanski’s family as his arrest would nearly cripple the post-production of his 2010 film The Ghost Writer where his longtime editor Herve de Luze is interviewed about his time in Switzerland where he and Polanski edited the film on a laptop inside the jail cell that Polanski was in before his house arrest.

Most of the interviews, with the help of cinematographer Tanja Koop and sound mixer Tyler Bender, are conducted in rooms while Geimer and her family are interviewed in their home in Hawaii as Zenovich doesn’t try to make her presence known except in the end where she films Polanski accepting his award in Zurich without any trouble. Still, Zenovich does ponder if her previous documentary either helped or hurt Polanski where she also showcases that sense of public opinion through news footage that is gathered with the help of editor Chris A. Peterson. Most notably as Zenovich even captures footage of the extradition trial in Los Angeles which showcases some of the fallacies of the legal system.

Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out is an excellent documentary from Marina Zenovich. The film is a superb follow-up to Zenovich’s previous documentary on Polanski though she doesn’t reveal anything new about what she explored in the last film. Still, she does manage to reveal a lot more about the motivations between the U.S. and Switzerland in trying to go after Polanski as well as the people who were suffering in that ordeal as the case did eventually end on a good note. In the end, Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out is a fantastic film from Marina Zenovich.

© thevoid99 2013

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