Tuesday, May 10, 2022

The Getaway King: Movie Review

A silly dated action comedy.

A Polish true story masquerading as an action crime comedy, The Getaway King is more chaotic than it is interesting and more silly than it is entertaining. The backdrop is 1988 Poland at the end of Communism, and I would have to assume those that lived there at that time got a lot more of the backstory that would have made this more interesting. For the rest of us the historical and cultural significance is downplayed so much, it’s missing that crucial touchpoint.   2021

Directed by: Mateusz Rakowicz

Screenplay by: Lukasz Maciejewski and
Mateusz Rakowicz

Starring: David Ogrodnik, Robert Wieckiewicz

At times the film found the right balance between following the police and following Zdzislaw Najmrodzki (Dawid Ogrodnik), the hero anti-hero that the story is centered around. He was like a mythical folk hero, regarded as a Robin Hood-like thief, committing 29 robberies of state stores restricting access to Western consumer goods. Every time the police caught him, he just escaped again. Again, I would have to assume he’s well known to those who lived there at the time, but for the rest of us, the film only give snippets of how he was regarded within society. His Robin Hood folk hero status is more assumed than shown.

The media scenes are excellent. Only a handful throughout the movie, but whenever Najmro had an opportunity to watch himself on screen, he did. There would be interviews with police about how he has eluded them, the talk show host would imply the police were incompetent and the police would take exception to that, and Najmro would just sit back in his apartment watching it on TV.

The film struggled with whether to focus on storytelling or action and essentially settled on neither and went with more atmosphere and editing. It often looks like a bad 80s police TV show. And this is not a by-product of a low-budget, this is on purpose. It’s set in the 80s but every single scene is bathed in tones of orange and yellow. It doesn’t come across as either quirky or authentic, it comes across as lazy ineffective atmosphere building. The action isn’t any better. Most scenes that involved the police making a wrong move are accompanied by a silly score cheapening the comedy and slow-motion editing.

The Getaway King spent all their time and money and energy turning this into a silly dated action comedy but the real story this is based on is probably more interesting in the first place.

Similar Titles:

  Bad Education - A character-rich true story.

  The Catcher Was a Spy - Fascinating story, interesting style.

  The Polka King - Bizarre, entertaining, half-baked.

  The Hyperions - Lacklustre superheroes.