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Once again I have found myself disappointed in Polish cinema. After reading many glowing reviews about this movie I thought that maybe the time has come for a decent Polish production, but unfortunately that was not the case.
But before I get to the bad stuff, let me give props to the movie's leading man- Borys Szyc. This guy is the only thing good about this movie. He's performance as "Silny" is great, when he needs to he is funny, and when the time for drama comes he is believable. Szyc has definitely proved, that he is not another talentless polish actor bound to play in soap operas. It's a shame that his talent is wasted on this movie, here he is like a diamond in an unflushed for centuries toilet.
So what is bad about this movie? About everything else! I haven't read the book myself, and frankly after this movie I certainly never will, but from what I've read, everything that is written in the book has been ripped from the pages and put on a screen. And here lies a big problem with this movie. Masłowska's style is rather chaotic, over-the-top, somewhat disturbing even. With that in mind the director/screen writer Xawery Żuławski could've cut the ridiculous parts and do a good movie, that shows the sadness of the typical Polish hoodlum in a realistic manner. But no, instead of that he just took all of the book's pages, ripped them off and put them on screen. Because of that the movie's style is incredibly uneven, one minute we have a dramatic scene, where Silny is contemplating about his sad life and the next we see a poorly choreographed fight, that ends with a drop kick 2 meters in the air. Some will call it artistic, ambitious, a cinematic equivalent of Sistine Chapel even, like the reviewer above, but nothing could've been further from the truth.
Also bad are all the other actors in the movie. Szyc could've just stood there and read cue cards and he still would outshine very other cast member. Maria Strzelecka, who plays Angela, is the prefect example of what would happen if Keanu Reeves and Paris Hilton hooked up. For the entire duration of the movie she's standing still and says her lines like she's lost the part of her soul that makes her human. R2D2 from Star Wars is Orson Welles compared to her. Other actors and actresses in this movie are also not exactly qualified to labels themselves as such. Thought they are not as bad as Strzelecka, they reach new lows in their respective categories. Every single one of them based their character's mannerisms on a bad Looney Tunes cartoon, the result is that every single character is too over-the-top even for David Caruso's standards. Not to mention the atrocious cameo by the books author- Dorota Masłowskwa- near the movie's ending. Her "acting" is one of the worst ever caught on tape, but since she is not even an actress it's understandable. But in that case, why is she even in the movie?
In the end "Polish-Russian War" is a bad movie. It tries too hard to imitate a good, ambitious movie, but fails miserably doing so, because the source material is not exactly fitted for such. The result can only appeal to snobbish, pretentious folks, who will think that they are smarter than every one else because they understood this movie. So if you are that kind of person, than watch this movie, like it and form some elitist cult afterwords with the guy who wrote the other review. Together you shall pass on the message of this movie's greatness and ban Gladiator from cinemas and TV screens everywhere.
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