Movie Rated: 18+
Genre: Crime, Thriller
What’s The Story About?
Directed by Patryk Vega, The Plagues Of Breslau follows the journey of a Polish police officer, Helena, who discovers a dead body sewn in a cowhide. And before she knows it, there’s a serial killer on the loose in Wroclaw. To assist her in her investigation, another police officer, Iwona is assigned to the same case. The rest of the story is about how the duo figure out that the serial killer is trying to recreate an 18th-century style of punishing people.
The film completely belongs to its lead actors, Malgorzata Kozuchowska (Helena Rus) and Daria Widawska (Iwona Bogacka), who bring a sense of realism and gritty style to the whole film. Right from the first frame, we see Helena as someone, who’s tormented by her past and even when she’s doing her duty, Helena is so methodical that she makes her work seem like child’s play. In the story, when she unearths key details about how the first murder was committed, you get a sense of how serious she is about her work. However, when she meets Iwona, she’s so overwhelmed that she lets Iwona walk her through the investigation and connect the dots. In fact, Iwona comes across as the smartest person in the room.
A major theme in the film is that of vigilantism and director Patryk Vega strikes a great balance between the personal motive of the serial killer and the history of the city of Wroclaw. A similar trope, where people are punished for their deadly sins, has been used in films like Se7en, and The Plagues of Breslau too tries to recreate a similar effect. Each victim is punished for a certain crime and the serial-killer sends a message that their past sins will always catch up with those who don’t protect the innocent. The best part of the film is that it’s relentless and the big twist in the story genuinely takes you by surprise. Even though it turns into a generic crime-thriller towards the end, The Plagues of Breslau is surprisingly engrossing and gives the audience plenty of reasons to empathise with the two key characters in the story.
Music and other departments:
The film focuses quite a lot on the gruesome killings of several people, and cinematographer Miroslaw Brozek focuses on the intricate details, right from how the people were killed to how their autopsy is done. This, in turn, adds to the grim and tense quality that the film aims for right from the beginning. Tomasz Widarski’s editing is top-notch and Lukasz Targosz’s music is pulsating throughout the film.
Apart from the performances of its two lead actors, the film’s screenplay is quite gripping and there are hardly any moments in the story which seem out of place. The big twist in the story is wonderfully woven in the script and director Patryk Vega pulls it off quite well.
After connecting the gruesome killings with a historical incident in the city, the film does leave you underwhelmed, especially in terms with how it connects the serial killer’s backstory with the killings. It’s sentimental, but the film merely glosses over the facts rather than showing the pain and suffering that the serial killer might have gone through in the past. This changes the texture of the story in its final act, although Patryk Vega springs a surprise by delivering another major twist when you least expect it.
Do I Recommend It?
If you have a penchant for crime-thrillers, The Plagues of Breslau is worth a watch. It might not take your breath away, but it’s surprisingly good and keeps you engaged until the end.