It could be a scene out of one of his earlier, better films. A man – let's even make him a Jew, better yet, an old Jew closer to 80 than 70, but with a beautiful wife and lovely young children wrapped in the insulation of celebrity and fame -- lands in a faintly sinister country. It's the eve of a holiday his parents celebrated, once, but that he has ignored. He's ready to receive an honor, and to promote, with his customary charm and skill, his latest work.
In a Charvet shirt and designer denims, he strolls across the tarmac as he's done hundreds of times on his way to his second house. Only a slight stiffness in his joints gives away his age.
Suddenly, he's surrounded, booked and jailed for an offence he committed decades ago, the nightmare he must have dreamed suddenly real. All his calls to his lawyers, to ambassadors, to powerful agents, don't work their customary magic.
Ironically, this theme of claustrophobia and paranoia, of enclosure dominated his work. It's as if his own cinematic images struggled to realize themselves in real life.
What Polanski did – drugged and butt-fucked a scared 13 year old girl – can't be brushed aside as a mere kink of some Euro-sophisto. Had it been my daughter, I would've shot him, and been glad to serve the time.
But he made his bargain and did his time, then bailed when it looked like the judge would renege on his deal. While he didn't serve his sentence, he has been in a soft prison.
His name is forever linked with the rape. Look at any lead story – they all start with a variation of "respected filmmaker and fugitive from justice for his rape of a girl. . ." or "Oscar winner and fugitive. . ." For a man who is also a Pole with a Polish sense of honor, that must bear a sting. Maybe worse is that he's had to deal with second-hand, second-rate crews – the people he used to deride. He moved to Hollywood for a reason: to have access to the best. That door slammed shut. It's not pumping iron in the yard at San Luis Obispo, but it's not a freedom, either.
Some argue he's gotten away with because he's a celeb. That argument's over, now. Just the contrary: Let's say he was an civilian. No one gives a rat's ass about a working class girls. I doubt it ever would have been prosecuted at all had it not taken place in Jack Nicholson's house. But let's say, for a change, the police did their job. The perp disappears. Do you think the LAPD would show the same zealousness in capturing a fugitive 76-year-old for a 30 year old crime?
What does justice mean in a case like this?
What it doesn't mean is an ambitious prosecutor making a name for himself by squeezing some juice out of an old case and an even older celeb.
Now, it's between her, his victim, and him. She's received a settlement, says she's forgiven him and doesn’t want a new trial. That's good enough for me. If it's straight between the two of them, then screw the bureaucratic apparatus, the moralists and the police. Especially the police.
Meanwhile, nine girls in San Diego were kidnapped, tortured and killed over the last few years. No one cares, because they're brunette rather than blonde, and Hispanic rather than white. They made page 14 on the LA Times, for a day, and rated very little coverage at all, although they died in circumstances baroque in their horror.
It would be nice if some of the outrage and opprobrium dumped on Romik would head the way of the San Diego Police Force and the murderous bastards who have so far managed to get away with their crime.