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The Debt is a gripping thriller about two entrepreneurs who become tangled in the web of a Russian thug. Two friends begin a business venture of importing Italian scooters into Poland. With... See full summary »
I'll try not to spoil anyone's fun here, so I'll stick to the well-established facts and not disclose more than is generally known about the film already. Julka (Julia Jentsch) seemingly has it all. She is a well established young artist, she has a devoted friend, Adrian, to help her with her work, and a loving husband (Maciej Stuhr), who leaves her only with the wish that they might finally live together and not divided by their disparate vocations (Julka works in plastic arts, her husband is a composer and they spend most of their times in different countries - her in Poland, him in Germany). Yet one day, out of the blue, Julka's family faces shocking news - her mother, an acknowledged writer, has cancer. As her condition grows worse, so does Julka's connection to the family - suddenly, her cozy world begins to change. What will come out of it all? Szumowska's movie, based on her own experiences of which you may probably learn from other sources, was well received by the Polish critics, some of whom even went as far as to claim it an artistic masterpiece. A vast majority, however, seem to have misread the work; while personal tragedies are no doubt the main source of the depicted events, what the whole movie is about is not losing one's relatives and trying to cope with it, but rather losing one's world and trying to get back to it. I won't tell you if the movie ends well, but I can say that Julka's troubles are definitely infantile, at times even terrifyingly uninvolving. I didn't enjoy Jentsch's performance, but I couldn't really say if it's her own inability or Szumowska's own direction that led her to become so bland. Anyway, the movie ain't bad, but it has its drawbacks - like the fact that it seems to end somewhere in the middle, with no grand resolution, explicit or implicit. Be cautious. You were warned.
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