Polish Cinema: The Plagues of Breslau (Patryk Vega, 2018, Poland)

Patryk Vega is kind of a one-man commercial film industry in Poland. His films are universally reviled by critics, yet they perform exceptionally well at the box office. With titles like PitbullBotoks, and Women of Mafia, they do not claim great art or highbrow taste. These are films that deliver sex and violence in large measure, something that is still rather uncommon on the Polish screen (at least until fairly recently). Plagues of Breslau is no exception, albeit the focus here is more on violence. Vega, who is not the most original writer, basically transplants David Fincher's Se7en to the historic Polish city.

A serial killer is on the loose in Wroclaw, dispensing with a new person each day in some disturbing way - one victim is wrapped in a cowhide, another is ripped apart by a horse, and so on. Our hero is detective Helena Rus (Malgorzata Kozuchowska), who is tasked with finding the killer, along with her support Magda Drewniak (Daria Widawska). Magda is exceptionally good at discerning the motive and actions of the killer - maybe too good. It becomes very clear early on what the film's twist will be - subtle writing is not its strong suit of Vega.

We are watching the film to see the spectacle of gruesome and violent death, and on that part Vega at least keeps the film entertaining. There is no subtlety in this film, and the high point of the film is a set piece involving a horse escaping that is hilarious in many ways. If you can accept that the pitch of the film is set to eleven, that everything is over-the-top and the characters exist purely in the realm of stereotype, then you can come to be entertained by Patryk Vega's vision of the world. 



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