Yes, Roman Polanski is a polarizing figure. But he's also a master storyteller. Like other directors who cast themselves, his roles usually aren't very substantial. But they are juicy. And he delivers the goods. (It helps that he made his way to the director's chair as an actor.)
One of the most iconic images from Polanski's Oscar-winning 1974 film Chinatown is the bandaged nose of leading man Jack Nicholson; in the film, it's Polanski's character who necessitates the Band Aid.