Warsaw Dark review

Even the best laid plans can go a bit pear-shaped - Carl's first film of the Edinburgh festival turns out to be a bit of a disappointment, to say the least

So it’s my first film of the festival, and while it may not have been at the top of my priorities, Warsaw Dark looked interesting enough to give a go. So that’s just what I did. Of course, by my twisted logic, I don’t remember anything about the synopsis of this or any other film at the festival, so what I’m about to see I’m in no way prepared for.

Regardless, I sit in the Filmhouse waiting for the film to start, telling myself that the title is just a silly name. I must say, I was definitely wrong there. For a film set in Warsaw, the title could never have been clearer, especially the feel the film gave off too. Not only is the film dark in style but also in subject matter. Its film noir-esque look aptly gives the sense of a gritty place, much like the place it is set in. While it succeeds in hiding 90% of the screen in black shadows, it also does much the same with the plot.

Unfortunately, this is all the best I can say for this film, as most of it was pretty dire. On the one hand, I should have known this would be at least a little weird, considering the only thing I have seen directed by Christopher Doyle was his insanely funny short in the utterly wonderful Paris J’taime. On the other, I figured that was just a fling with the insane, and we would get some narrative that would make sense, at least.

The plot involves, and this is almost speculation, a prostitute, some mobsters, a bald guy and his wife, and some cops. How these all tie in, I’m not exactly certain. I know that the prostitute was having sex with a guy under orders, and he was then murdered, and then the cops come in, and the prostitute disappears with some guy. That’s about it, as everything else has a rather jumbled uncertainty about it. “Who is doing what and for what reasons are they doing it?” I thought to myself as about 20 people left the press screening. Obviously I wasn’t the only one doubting this film’s ability to be good.

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In general terms, the cinematography was alright, but probably should have been handled by Doyle himself, as I know for certain he has a good eye for that kind of thing, due to the prettiness of films like Hero and In The Mood For Love. It’s a shame. If he had handled the cinematography, and someone else had handled the direction, it may have gotten an extra star for being smart. But it doesn’t because it wasn’t, so there!

And unfortunately, that is pretty much it for this film. Yes, this is about half the length of my normal reviews, but unless I talk about how rubbish the film was some more, I really don’t have much else to say.

Here’s hoping the next film is an utter triumph, as this has left me sorely underwhelmed.


1 out of 5