Jack Strong (Poland)

Directed by Władysław Pasikowski

Saturday, November 22, 7pm,

395 Wellington, National Archives

29th European Union Film Festival

Despite the flashy poster, dashing leading man, and promise of super secret espionage thrills, this is not a James Bond movie. You have been warned.

Instead, Jack Strong is a methodical retelling of a complicated cat and mouse tale of former Polish army golden boy Ryszard Kuklinski, who becomes the CIA’s most important cold war spy. “Based on a true story”, unlike Hollywood’s liberal utilization of that phrase, is just that: a film document of a spy’s life behind the iron curtain. Yes there is suspense, but it comes with telephone calls, not gun play. Yes there is a car chase, but it’s a slushy slog through grey Polish snow involving crappy communist motor vehicles. Yes there is drinking and smoking, but everyone is drinking and smoking (this is 70s Poland!).

What this film chiefly achieves is telling a great story of hands reaching across the iron curtain with possible dire consequences. It feels true, and you can’t ask for more than that.


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