After suffering extreme humiliation at school, Dominik holes himself up in his room and begins spending all his time in a virtual reality chat room.After suffering extreme humiliation at school, Dominik holes himself up in his room and begins spending all his time in a virtual reality chat room.After suffering extreme humiliation at school, Dominik holes himself up in his room and begins spending all his time in a virtual reality chat room.
After much fanfare after a Berlinale premiere and an extremely successful Poland premiere with of people swarming in to the must-see movie of the season, I was anxious to get hold of this new fad. It took me a while and since the hype has simmered down I was able to quietly swallow the movie without external influence.
Thankfully it rather good. But it is a far cry from falling over head over heels in ecstatic admiration. Nonetheless the whole premise of the story structures it around two overlapping but separate worlds. The real one, initially focused mostly on Dominik, but then taken over by his parents played by Agata Kulesza and Krzysztof Pieczyński. Placed on the shoulders of a strong brunt story about dissociation of parents from their children, the emotional deficiencies that it causes and the rage that ensues from such a situation, it strikes a strong cord in most of the right places. It does jar from time to time with oversimplifications, clichés or unnecessary and unfocused jabs at politics, but the threesome creating the family are tremendous. Also the scenes trying to replicate real teen life and their trials / tribulations rings extremely believable and natural (I was like watching myself being stupid back in the days).
And the cyber one, which is stylised like "Second Life" meets "World of Warcraft" with a side-helping of "Doom", except that imagination - and not crude keyboards or a mouse - is the only limit as to what your avatars can do. Given their is no explanation or reason, as to why this is possible, you just have to accept it at face value as a story gimmick. The world itself is enticing and well-conceived creating the necessary atmosphere to invite us into this alternative life. However these sequences fail to bring in the necessary completion to the story. Mainly because of two flaws. The first is Roma Gąsiorowska, an actress achingly reeking with irritating mannerisms coupled with a squeaky voice and some poorly delivered lines. The second is the poetic drivel and existential nonsense served out as wisdom by participants of "The Suicide Room". At its best it is self-centred unfocused romantic pulp. At its worst its just plain terrible scriptwriting. Adding one and two together makes it entirely incomprehensible why a smart young boy with an artistic soul would ever sign up to such a group of wannabees. The only answer that comes to mind is that despite all her flaws Roma Gąsiorowska is one pretty lady.
The ending is pretty great and Jakub Gierszał really pulls his weight in this movie (at least as long as he doesn't have Roma Gąsiorowska as his counterpoint).
Cinematography I must say is top-notch, but than again I may be biased, as I unknowingly discovered this was filmed by a former acquaintance of mine: Radek Ładczuk. Good to see a movie made in Poland that isn't drenched out of colour to a lifeless bleak hue inhabiting 95% of Polish art-flicks.
- Oct 8, 2011