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Jerzy Hoffman brings one of the world's most decisive battles to film,
This review is from: 1920 Bitwa Warszawska (1920 The Battle of Warsaw) Region 2 PAL (Import with English Subtitles) (DVD)
Polish director Jerzy Hoffman brings one of the world's most decisive battles to film in 1920 Bitwa Warszawska (The Battle of Warsaw). This 2011 film has special effects galore and happens to be the first Polish movie made in 3D. It evokes feelings of a historic epic and is teeming with the best Polish actors (and even a few Russian actors too).
Poland just resurfaced on the map in 1918 after 123 years of being wiped off the map by her neighbors, but trouble is never too far away. Thankfully, Poland has strong leaders like Jozef Pilsudski (Daniel Olbrychski), Jozef Haller (Jacek Poniedzialek) and Boleslaw Wieniawa-Dlugoszowski (Boguslaw Linda) that are able to defend her from the Soviet invaders that would like to see socialism across all of Europe. There only stands one thing in the way from spreading socialism across the world: Poland.
1920 Bitwa Warszawska tries to balance spoon-feeding us historical details that give the story context with the personal side of the war by showing us how the war affected the lives of a newlywed couple. Jan Krynicki (Borys Szyc) marries her girl Ola Raniewska (Natasza Urbanska) just before he is sent out to war. While the frame of the story is a romance, it doesn't develop this part of the story too greatly as there is so much other things that need to be shown. The film takes on a lot in a short amount of time, so it could have easily been at least an hour longer to develop the details in greater depth, but then some would complain the film is too long.
Jan is seemingly sympathetic to socialistic ideas, which gets him in trouble with his fellow soldiers, but ends up saving his life as well. Jan is cured of his sympathy when he sees firsthand the doubletalk and absurdity that come with socialism, convincing him that he must do everything to stop the Soviets. We see both many forms of Soviet propaganda pushing socialism and Polish patriotism that attempts to stir every emotion among its people to stand up to the coming tide of Russian assault.
Although there are many Poles apathetic to what is happening, as they would rather not mix with politics knowing that things can change too quickly and being on the wrong side means death, many do all they can to help with the ongoing war. While Ola worries for her husband's safety, she decides to help by joining the army and gives her heart and soul into defending Poland.
Blood and guts are not spared in the least, so war is by no means some glorious parade of brave men in uniform, but rather a chaotic hell in which one can loose one's life or limb at any moment. While there are many skirmishes and clashes of forces throughout the film, it really all leads up to the big fight at the end. The battle doesn't look miraculous save for its outcome, as it really is just a slaughter, with both sides having its people massacred.