Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The High Frontier (orig. Na Granicy) [2016]

MPAA (UR would be R)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
FilmWeb.pl listing*

Dziennik.pl (Ł. Maciejewski) review*
NaEkranie.pl (K. Koczułap) review*
oNet.pl (D. Kuźma) review*
org.pl (M. Drewniak) review*
sPlay.pl (J. Gryiel) review*
TeleMagazin.pl (K. Polaski) review*
wPolitice.pl (Ł. Adamski) review*

The High Frontier (orig. Na Granicy) [2016] [IMDb] [FW.pl]* (written and directed by Wojciech Kasperski [IMDb] [FW.pl]*) is a well crafted Polish thriller that played recently at the 2016 Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles.  Set in the winter in the Bieszczady Mountains in the extreme SE corner of contemporary Poland in good part during a blizzard, the film evokes inevitable resonances with Stanley Kubrick / Steven King's The Shining [1980] and Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight [2015] but the film could probably be best characterized as the "Martin Scorsese directed, Robert Deniro starring Cape Fear [1991] with snow" ;-)

The film begins with a recently widowed father, Mateusz (played by Andrzej Chyra [IMDb] [FW.pl]*) taking his sons Janek (played by Bartosz Bielenia [IMDb] [FW.pl]*) and Tomek (played by Kuba Henriksen [IMDb] [FW.pl]*), both in their early teens, up into the Poland's southern (borderland) mountains for some bonding time.   Some years before, Mateusz had served as a border guard.  As such, he had some connections.  He's given the keys by a friend still in the service to a quite nice (but not opulent), secluded, government owned chalet, where he hoped to have some time with his sons re-bond after their mutual loss, and _perhaps_ teach them "a thing or two" about the outdoorsman's way-of-life.

Well they're out there in that isolated mountain chalet, snow falling heavily outside, when a bearded man (played Marcin Dorociński [IMDb] [FW.pl]*) _half covered in blood_ shows up at their door, pounds on it, and after they open it, passes-out / collapses right there in front of them.  "WT...

Okay trying to figure out what just happened, Mateusz takes the passed-out man, drags him to a bed, and since he's still some kind of law enforcement officer, handcuffs him (still passed-out) to said bed, puts his jacket on, and tells his sons two things: (1) that he's going out into the blizzard to follow the man's blood soaked trail to figure-out what happened, and (2) to under _no circumstances_ un-handcuff the man should he wake-up before he gets back ...

Well ... guess what happens? ;-)

Honestly, again a very well-crafted, cold claustrophobic thriller ... Excellent job!

* Reasonably good (sense) translations of non-English webpages can be found by viewing them through Google's Chrome browser. 

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