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A play that thinks it is a film, or is that a film that thinks it is a play? Either way, this muddled attempt at bringing this stage play written by Karol Wojtyla -- better known today as Pope John Paul II -- to the big screen fails miserably. The acting is incredibly wooden, the camera movement stiff, and although there is some beautifully recreated period cinematography of what appears to be Warsaw, there is way too little of it and it melds awkwardly with the stage drama presentation.
The play was originally written as a debt of gratitude to the late 19th century Polish painter Adam Cimelowski, who gave up his promising artistic career for the service of God, just as Wojtyla later did with his writing career. We have all seen excellent film adaptations of stage plays (e.g. Macbeth, A Streetcar Named Desire, Hamlet, Henry V), however, Wojtyla's prose is unfortunately no Shakespeare. As a film, this story may have succeeded if it were done in Polish and properly dramatized, cutting down on the play's incredibly boring and verbose English dialogue which is excruciatingly presented word for word.
As Pope, Wojtyla has had a tremendous hand in changing the world we live in, but if this is an example of his best writing talents, we can only thank God that he didn't keep his day job.
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