Cinema: Two Males Abristle

Knife in the Water begins against a feebly sunlit landscape in the lake region of Poland. A bored husband and wife are driving out for a day's sailing. They stop to pick up a brash young hitchhiker, whose insolence catalyzes their own hostility—and this three-cornered thriller quickly generates force. By the time they reach pierside, the two males are abristle, eying each other like cocks in a pit. "You're no match for me, but come aboard," taunts the older man. The boy accepts: "Ah, you want to carry on the game."

The game is an elemental struggle between the man who has...

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