Rating : 67/100 100 Min
The story behind this really makes it work. It’s a Polish language dramatisation about the true tale of three friends who set up a successful multi-million Euro company in Poland, but were then hounded by serious bribery and corruption charges. It begins painfully slowly, with many imperfections and an all too grey blueish texture that never leaves the film, a common complaint for the Polish film industry, and it would be tempting to label it a remnant of the soviet era if it were not also commonly found in the mainstream cinema of the west. Despite these faults (the grammar used in the English subtitles could also use a bit of work) the events are compelling and the performances for the most part are pretty good. In fact, in many ways the drama is underplayed – what unfolds deserved to be much more tense and harrowing for the viewer than it is.
It would be interesting to know just how close to the bone the film runs – the director Ryszard Bugajski struggled for many years to have his 1982 film ‘Interrogation’ about Stalinist repression released, and was finally able to do so with the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc, seeing it nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1990 and Krystyna Janda take home the best actress award. Given that level of commitment to voicing the truth, The Red Dragon is hopeful that Uklad Zamkniety sticks largely to the facts.