The Palace
Photograph: Malgosia Abramowska
  • Film

The Palace

Roman Polanski’s Eurotrash hotel farce is an absolute stinker

Phil de Semlyen

Time Out says

Whether or not you think that Roman Polanski should still be making films, we can surely all agree on one thing: he definitely shouldn’t have made this one. A comedy in the very, very loosest sense of the word, The Palace gathers together a clutch of hotel-based sitcom scenarios that would have been scrunched up and tossed into a Fawlty Towers dustbin and unleashes them across nearly two hours of chihuahuas shagging penguins, comedy pratfalls and a wholesale rip-off of Weekend at Bernie’s. None of it is funny; bits of it are more horrifying than the Polish filmmaker’s actual horror films.

Its Basil Fawlty character is Oliver Masucci’s hard-pressed hotel manager, slowly driven to drink by the pressures of putting on a New Year’s bash with the apocalyptic spectre of Y2K hanging over it, a bunch of embezzling Russians in the hotel safe, a clutch of other annoyingly entitled guests, and a total lack of good jokes. The actual Basil Fawlty, John Cleese, pops up as a Texan oil man with erectile problems. Mickey Rourke and Fanny Ardant fare little better. 

Somehow, sharing a co-writing credit with Polanski on all this are Jerzy Skolimowski and Ewa Piaskowska, the pair behind this year’s delightful donkey movie EO. They’ve gone from ass to asinine. 

The Palace premiered at the Venice Film Festival.

Cast and crew

  • Director:Roman Polanski
  • Screenwriter:Roman Polanski
  • Cast:
    • Fanny Ardant
    • Mickey Rourke
    • John Cleese
    • Joaquim de Almeida
    • Jerzy Skolimowski
    • Ewa Piaskowska
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