Directed by Maciej Kawulski, the polish film “How I fell in love with a gangster” is now available to watch on Netflix. The film explores the life of the well-known, famous Polish Gangster, Nikos. A true story is transformed into fiction by Maciej Kawulski using his talents. He presents the life of the gangster from the perspective of the woman that fell in love with him.
The movie is a quintessential gangster movie. The story begins with an inquisitive journalist questioning a mysterious woman about Nikos, years after his death. The story then unfolds to reveal Nikos's childhood, his abusive father, and economic issues that compelled him to take up this illegal life of his. It then proceeds to glorify his rise as the most prominent gangster in Poland with a charm that attracts several women. As he grows in wealth and status, his pride grows as well. He is a smuggler and criminal in the 1970s, a very successful one indeed.
By continuously shifting between his successful, raging career, and his deteriorating, failing personal lives, with the deaths of several people close to him, failed marriages, and a lack of connection with his children, the movie plays an intriguing narrative. The actor (Tomasz Wlosok) did a brilliant job in portraying the character with such majesty and charm. However, he still manages to capture the nuanced flaws of the character, the turmoil of his personal life, and the subtle journey that leads to his downfall.
Resembling every other archetypal gangster, he is flawed and vain. It is this pride and vanity that finally leads to creating several enemies, and forming habits like alcohol and drug abuse. Ultimately, this is followed by his hero's death - his anticipated and expected demise.
The screenplay of the story is brilliant. The background music is very engaging. The color palette and the scenes shot are precocious. In the film, tracking shots, extreme closeups, and similar shots are used brilliantly to convey the power dynamic or to create the ideal mood for the audience. The light constantly shifts from a dark, shady light during monotonous scenes to light, visible scenes, for comedic scenes between Nikos and his fellow companions.
The movie casts some brilliant actors with engaging dialogues and intense scenes that heighten the emotional engagement of the audience. The dialogue, “It is better to live one year like a tiger than twenty years as a turtle” aptly describes the character, Nikos.
However, there are several underwhelming aspects of the film that overthrow the talents on screen. The movie is three hours long making it a wearing-out process to stick to the movie till the end, especially, when the ending is quite predictable (the death of Nikos). The story lacks sufficient twists, actions, and engaging subplots to keep the audience captivated.
The narration lacks clarity. The story is put forth with the intention of a third-person narrative, the story from the perspective of a woman who was in love with him. Several times in the movie, the other characters break the fourth wall and directly talk to the camera, addressing the audience. The narration style of breaking the fourth wall stands out, however, it should’ve been more consistent.
The mystery of the woman narrating is also predictable leaving very little to hold on to the audience.
To conclude, there are several bumps in the movie and screenplay that should not be overlooked. The audience is rarely kept in suspense by moments in the film. The film, however, has several qualities that deserve praise and acknowledgment.
Final Score – [7/10]
Reviewed by – Aalaya Sonti
Follow her @layaarants on Twitter
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