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The most spectacular Polish spy of the Cold War era, colonel Ryszard Kuklinski, informs Americans about the communist block's top secrets in the face of the upcoming martial law.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Dimitri Bilov ...
Ivanov
...
Sue
Oleg Maslennikov ...
Kulikov (as Oleg Maslennikow)
...
Zbigniew Brzezinski
...
Putek
...
Gendera
Krzysztof Globisz ...
Siwicki
...
Ostaszewski
Ireneusz Czop ...
Rakowiecki
Pawel Iwanicki ...
Walczak
Zbigniew Stryj ...
Skalski
Mariusz Bonaszewski ...
Prosecutor
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Storyline

This gripping spy thriller tells the true story of a man who dares to challenge the Soviet empire. While planning the maneuvers of the Warsaw Pact forces, Polish army colonel Ryszard Kuklinski has access to top secrets. He gets to know that the American nuclear counterattack against Soviet forces is planned to be executed on Polish territory. Thanks to his determination, he starts a long, lonely and psychologically exhausting cooperation with CIA. From that very moment the life of his family and his own is in constant danger as one careless move may lead to tragedy. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

24 July 2015 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Джак Стронг  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Pistol that central character uses near end of film is (accurately) the P-64 9mm Makarov. As he approaches the door of his house, he racks the slide. He thus proves an important fact about this firearm now widely sold in the US to civilians, viz. that it is dangerous to carry it with a round in the chamber. It does not have a firing pin block and will accidentally discharge if dropped on its muzzle. See more »

Goofs

In year 1971 Colonel Kulikov has an 1972 Opel Rekord, a West-German car. One year mistake is not so much if Polish officers would have driven new western cars in 1971. I think they would have driven East-European cars like Wartburg or Skoda back then. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Spy-Thriller-Detective Masterwork
23 February 2014 | by (Cieszyn, Poland) – See all my reviews

"I had to choose between serving my country or the Red Empire" (Ryszard Kuklinski)

Described as "the first Polish officer in NATO" by Zbigniew Brzezinski, Ryszard Kuklinski was one of the most absorbing figures of the recent history as a man who played a decisive role in the Cold War. At the 10th anniversary of Kuklinski's death, Wladyslaw Pasikowski, a rather newcomer director (known for his AFTERMATH made two years earlier), has made this film with exceptional insight into the interpretation of a specific reality, with courage (taking into account the various negative viewpoints caused by some political affiliations of its critics and accusations against Kuklinski from post-communist) and extraordinary evaluation of modern needs within cinema trends. But within this uncommon evaluation, we are interested in an ordinary viewer who goes to see this film for various reasons: to get to know history; to find the depiction of the protagonist's heroic deeds, surely; but, in many cases, to get some thrill, some action, something we all, even unconsciously, expect of cinema. After all, JACK STRONG is, foremost, a movie. Therefore, I am not going to be a historical judge in this review but rather look at the film from a movie freak's standpoint, more in terms of purely cinematic means as done by the reviewers before me.

The film is supplied with resonance at its depiction of Communist Soviet Union vs. the Capitalist world of the United States. Two realities that stand in total opposition. In that context, JACK STRONG serves as the almost flawless illustration of the Cold War period where Poland (swallowed by communism) and the protagonist, Ryszard Kuklinski (1930-2004), appear in between two powers. The Polish colonel, deluding his comrades, is actually a spy to NATO passing the top secret documents to CIA. What do these documents refer to? Soviet plans to use nuclear weapons and, to put it shortly, immense hazard of nuclear war, a poisonous policy raised on anti-craft bases. He contacts Americans using the most 'unpredictable' almost 'primitive' devices that, anyway, contribute to our imagination - device called 'spark.' By placing himself and his family in unbelievable risks, can he handle that political duality for long? Or more to ask, perhaps sounding paradoxically, does he do it for himself or out of his patriotic motives?

The former question seems almost rhetorical. The latter question, however, (which refers to strong accusations against this man), within the quotation by Kuklinski I entailed at the beginning and, in particular, the word 'serve' should aid in eliminating the unfair seeds of doubt. SERVE excludes all egocentric drives. But there is something else, the beginning of the movie that does not appear to be wordy in script but tremendously powerful in visuals. The film opens with a shocking scene (that in a way sets the tone for the entire story). Oleg Pienkowski, as we may deduce, had been doing exactly what Kuklinski takes up and comes to an end that barely differs from Holocaust. So to say, the Soviets that suppress the east block seem to indicate what fate awaits all those 'traitors' that dare spill the beans about their policy. In that very context, we understand Kuklinski's motives. Serving communists that were within our country was, actually, serving the Red Empire. Therefore, by being a spy to CIA, he actually served America in the Cold War but, consequently, served Poland too in its way to freedom. That makes his story exceptionally absorbing and captivating as fleeing in wooden boxes. Asked at the finale if it was worth, he concludes all these events, all these sorrows in a beautiful sentence. But let me highlight performances.

JACK STRONG is a movie which features Patrick Wilson in an interesting role of Daniel. Among the supporting characters, its strong point lies in portraying historical characters, including Oleg Maslennikov as the Russian military commander Kulikov, Volodymyr Necheporenko as Brezniev and Krzysztof Dracz as Wojciech Jaruzelski responsible for the imposition of martial law in Poland. But all our attention is called on Marcin Dorocinski in the lead whose American pseudonym "Jack Strong" finds its manifestation in this portrayal.

He echoes all the flawless hyper-psychological-spy roles ever depicted by handling the role with exceptional duality of choices: he can be divided into two realities of a personality: formal and private, a colonel and father/husband. One cannot go without the other in responsibility but hardly does it go in pairs within one reality. The former requires the sacrifice from the latter and vice versa. That is beautifully depicted in his family conflicts, in the choices he makes, in the rapport with his two sons, Bogdan (Piotr Nerlewski) and Waldek (Jozef Pawlowski), his wife Hanna's (Maja Ostaszewska) suspicions. Finally, however, we get the redeeming aspect of reconciliation prompted by desperate acts to build a safer future in America.

JACK STRONG, besides all the psychological-historical-political balance, is a wonderfully entertaining movie with tensions that equal the best American productions. Obviously, there is a gray aspect of times, specific times in Poland but moments of pure adrenaline are not to be skipped. What I mean here is, foremost, the 'car race' in the icy streets of Warsaw which finely combines humor with tension and blend reality with fantasy. Polish, English and Russian in the movie add authenticity to the characters' nationalities. And many other strong points that are simply noticeable when seeing the film.

Serve his own country...where monsters were disguised as masters...was a hard task for the conscience and honor on the verge of wretched captivity. He chose the hardest, what price did he/they pay? What reward did he/they get? Merely a memorial tribute or, perhaps, something more.

A successful movie that manages to resist the temptation of being a shallow historical make-believe. Consequently, it is a fine history lesson for the viewers keen on that stuff. It also manages to hold our attention and meet the supreme expectation of a contemporary movie-goer: ACTION. 9/10


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