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(Review originally written at 24 December 2010)

This is a movie that becomes mostly great due to its fine directing approach. The movie at times picks an artistic approach but without disconnecting itself ever from its viewers.

It's really the way how this movie looks that made this an interesting and good watch for me. It features some beautiful black & white cinematography and it has some some really strong and unforgettable images in it.

The story in itself is being kept deliberately small and simple. The movie very rarely dwells, which is a good thing but it at the same time also prevents this movie from making a truly lasting impression with a good or powerful story. In my opinion the movie was lacking this, which prevented me from truly regarding this movie as a perfect movie, or a must-see classic, even though it is generally being regarded as perhaps the best and most definitive Polish movie ever made.

Neverhteless, the characters all do work out well, due to the movie its story and overall approach. It was also truly a pleasure to watch Zbigniew Cybulski act, who is known as the Polish James Dean. He was truly great and really solely carried the movie, for most part.

Due to the fact that the movie is being kept simple and small, there is also very little to indicate in this movie that it's actually one being set during WW II. Don't know whether this was done intentionally or not but anyway, I liked that about this movie. It's a war movie without the war and everything that goes along with that and basically all that ever indicates that there is war going on is shown by the presence of a few soldiers.

A solid but above all things beautifully directed movie, by Andrzej Wajda.

8/10

About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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