Review: 80 Million, Glasgow Film Festival

80 Million
Fri Feb 15 (20.45) and Sun Feb 17 (13.15)

Set in the Polish city of Wroclaw in 1981, and inspired by real events, Waldemar Krzystek’s film follows a group of Solidarnosc activists as they attempt to hide the trade union’s money (the titular 80 million zlotys) from the Stalinist dictatorship. The movie is, ironically, most impressive, not when following its primary narrative, but in depicting the major forces at work when General Jaruzelski declared martial law; namely, the massed ranks of Solidarnosc strikers and protestors on one side, and the heavily armed soldiers and cops of the nominally “socialist” state on the other.

The main plot is hampered considerably by the over-acting of Piotr Glowacki as a grinningly demonic, and ultimately absurd, secret police chief. The intended tension of the narrative is also hindered by a soundtrack which sounds like it has come straight from the bedroom of a dodgy, 1980s teenage rock band.

Although filmed in convincingly washed-out colour, one can’t help but think that this movie would like to be Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s The Lives Of Others when it grows up.

This review was originally published in the Sunday Herald on February 10, 2013

© Mark Brown


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