You can immediately feel confidence and stylistic swagger in this scene from Roman Polanski‘s The Palace. The lighting and staging and whipsmart dialogue and generally disciplined atmosphere are aces…anything but rote. It’s obvious that a major-league director shot and blocked this scene out to the last precise detail.

If it wasn’t Polanski at the helm of this dark period comedy (shot in Gstaad), it could be early ’70s Bernardo Bertolucci or Luchino Visconti.

The cinematographer is Pawel Edelman (The Pianist, An Officer and a Spy, The Ghost Writer).

So that’s not Mads Mikkelsen as the top hotel guy? MM isn’t listed in the IMDB or Wikipedia credits, but it sure looks like him (or his twin brother).

I would much rather see The Palace than sit through Kate Winslet‘s Lee, which will debut in Toronto. Winslet trashed Polanski and Woody Allen three years ago, and I’m not about to forgive her any time soon.