EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|MOONLIGHTING (director/writer: Jerzy Skolimowski; cinematographer: Tony Pierce-Roberts; editor: Barrie Vince; music: Stanley Myers/Hans Zimmer; cast: Jeremy Irons (Nowak), Eugene Lipinski (Banaszak), Jiri Stanislaw (Wolski), Eugeniusz Haczkiewicz (Kudal), David Calder (Supermarket Manager), Judy Gridley (Supermarket Supervisor), Claire Toeman (Supermarket cashier); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Mark Shivas/Jerzy Skolimowski; Universal Studios Home Video; 1982)|
|"Revels in depicting
workers faced with alienation and desperate
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Moonlighting is set
during the Christmas season in 1981 in London, and
will spill over to the new year when in January
martial law is applied in Poland and the Solidarity
movement is banned. Expat Polish director Jerzy
Skolimowski ("The Shout"/"Deep End"/"The
Lightship") writes and directs this acclaimed
film. It revels in depicting workers faced with
alienation and desperate conditions.
Four Polish builders,
Nowak (Jeremy Irons), Banaszak (Eugene Lipinski), Wolski (Jiri Stanislaw), Kudal (Eugeniusz Haczkiewicz), are hired by the 'boss'
to renovate his London townhouse and arrive in London
to work there for a month without a work permit. They
will earn a months' wages, which is what usually takes
a year to earn back home. The boss will get cheap
labor, because if he hired English workers and paid
them in English currency it would be much more costly.
Nowak is the only one who speaks English and acts as
the boss. While working, military coup takes place in
Poland. In order to finish the job on time, Nowak does
not tell the isolated others.
The displaced foreigners
observe the Brits, feeling their hatred for
foreigners, buying a TV that doesn't work, Nowak's
bike gets stolen, and observing the locals shoplift in
the supermarket. Nowak becomes the overbearing leader,
treating the others like children, and reverts to
stealing a bike to replace his and shoplifting in
order to finance the project that ran over budget. The
workers find it a frustrating experience and finally
leave for Poland bearing gifts for their loved ones
back home. When Nowak finally tells his co-workers the
news of the military action as they head for Heathrow,
there is an angry outburst.
The quirky, gripping
political drama never utters a single political
statement, as it becomes allegorical and finds relief
in its weird bittersweet humor. Nowak turns into a totalitarian bully
by lying in order to get his subjects to complete the
work on time and the workers at the end feel betrayed
by the leader, one of their own and not a Soviet, they
solely relied on for support. The filmmaker gives us
plenty of chances to observe both the Londoners in
their daily life and the poor workers holed up in the
apartment of their wealthy boss.
REVIEWED ON 2/19/2010 GRADE: A-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ