Late autumn 1943. Wydra (Otter), a Polish partisan, catches an informer in a nearby village and brings him to his starving unit in the forest. A thrilling adventure finds desperate times calling for desperate measures in wartime...
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Wydra
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Henryk Kondolewicz
...
Hanna Kondolewiczowa
...
Pestka
...
Mak
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Waniek
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Rudzielec
...
Cook
Grzegorz Wojdon ...
Szumlas
Jacek Strama ...
Ludwina
...
Wiarus
Dariusz Chojnacki ...
Prisoner
Alicja Bienicewicz ...
Kondolewiczowa's mother
...
Kondolewicz's father
Dariusz Starczewski ...
Hind
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Storyline

It is late autumn 1943. A small sabotage team of the Resistance, ridden with disease and hunger, vegetates in the damp, autumnal woods, waiting for the next call to action. Their task is to coordinate difficult military actions, particularly the assassination of Nazis and their sympathisers. They are partisans devoted to special ops, only they are in need of some special operations themselves. Written by Anonymous

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Genres:

Drama | Thriller | War

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Release Date:

19 October 2012 (Poland)  »

Also Known As:

Hajtóvadászat  »

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User Reviews

 
Flashback headache
3 December 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In the autumn of 1943, a small settlement of Polish partisans located deep into forest territory attempts to survive the gruesome hardships of everyday life, while fending off Nazi patrols and their informants. The man for the odd dirty jobs is eternally mumbling camp executioner Wydra (Marcin Dorocinski), who disposes of captured soldiers and troublesome compatriots with ruthless efficiency. When Henryk Kondolewicz (Maciej Stuhr), a local businessman with shady dealings with SS forces, is pointed out as a traitor, Wydra is sent to execute him. Meanwhile however the entire camp is caught unawares by Nazi forces, who arduously murder every man, woman and child...

Never since "Memento" have flashbacks played such a vital role in building a feature film. However, in Christopher Nolan's debut feature the whole cascading jumps to the past served a higher purpose, while Kryształowicz (similarly this is his first film) uses it as a ploy to muddle up a plot, which is drearily straightforward to the extent that most flashbacks don't serve any purpose whatsoever - failing to expand the characters, story or philosophical tidings. Rummaging through images of now and then, a barrage of scenes is utterly pointless, not uncovering any mysteries, just seemingly functioning as a random choice of a shot to edit in between other sequences. This approach manages to somehow draw out a 40-odd-minute plot into a languid 100 minute fresco.

Key protagonist Dorociński lazily mumbling through his lines does not help proceedings, for the first time ever whilst watching a Polish film I found myself contemplating the need for subtitles just to understand dialogues. Dorociński was the worst culprit, but unfortunately such laborious, uninterested delivery devoid of focus on enunciation is the bane of current Polish cinema, never however has it been such a problematic viewing issue. That said Dorociński delivers a very suggestive, high-quality performance, and his apathetic laggard stance seems to serve the character well - an honest patriot now resigned that his loss of humanity is a necessary sacrifice.

Addiotionally the imagery is sublime, while the meticulous perfection at which Kryształowicz creates scenes using the full force of nature to underline the dark intensity of the situation shows that he is a talent to be watched. The story became somewhat undone by the lack of content and the somewhat gruesome over-exaggeration near its end, that unexpectedly throws us into "Inglorious Basterds" territory and causes the movie to further lose focus on is basically a story of how within the logic of gruesome warfare, good/evil become deranged mirror images. The movie obviously distances itself for glorifying martyrdom, instead upsetting with presenting the 'good guys' as unhinged by war atrocities, a far cry away from the crystal heroes of Hollywood pomposity. This in itself is a welcome new approach, only possible with a detachment for idolatry, which often characterised the previous Polish film-making generation. This new voice, point of view, on the past in Polish cinema is in itself a very interesting phenomenon, somewhat worth analysing further and juxtaposing to the big-budget glory pictures still rampant amongst the older directors.


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