The Getaway King is the latest Polish release on Netflix. It tells the story of Polish criminal, Zdzislaw Najmrodzki, and how his life changed when he met Teresa, his love interest. Having premiered in August of 2021 at the New Horizons Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland. It was released in cinemas in September 2021, but it only became available for streaming in May of 2022. Originally supposed to premier in 2020, the film got delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Getaway King was awarded the Audience Award at Krakow Film Festival 2021, and a Best Costume Award at Gydnia Film Festival 2021. It was also nominated for the award of Golden Lions at Gydnia.
– The Getaway King review does not contain spoilers –
Based on the life of the real Getaway King
The Getaway King presents the life of Zdislaw Najmrodzki, a real-life thief who was active during the 70s and 80s. Called one of the most famous criminals of the time, Najmrodzki has a record of escaping from custody a total of 29 times, including from a train, a court window, police headquarters in Warsaw and of course, prison. He is also known to have robbed luxury goods stores and cars, which already were scarce during the Communist era in the 80s and 90s.
The Getaway King chronicles his glamorous and rich life filled with luxury and women in a glum background of the Polish People’s Republic where even toilet paper was scarce. In this economic crisis, Najmrodzki made his fortune stealing and selling luxury goods. The film begins with Najmrodzki as a successful thief who is very good at what he does, which he does in a rather stylish way. There is a lot of glamour, money-filled shots, loud 80s music and a fast-paced plot that will not let your attention waver. And then he meets Teresa at the film theatre, from where he gets film posters to cover up the robberies.
They quickly fall for each other and this turn in Najmrodzki’s life makes him reconsider his life choices and makes him want to become a better person. There is very smooth chemistry between the actors playing Teresa and Najmrodzki, Masza Wagrocka and Dawid Ogrodnik respectively. Their relationship is sweet, beautiful and self-indulgent, making it fun to watch them together. In fact, the entire cast of the film is quite adept at their roles, there are quite a few good moments between Najmrodzki and the police officer working on his case, Barski (played by Robert Wieckiewicz) from the Citizens’ Militia.
The ‘gang’ of thieves working with Najmrodzki have well-written roles, props to the writers Lukasz M. Maciejewski and Mateusz Rakowicz (who is also the director). Especially the role of Antos as a thief who takes his work seriously (in a very witty manner), actor Jakub Gierszal has done an excellent job. So has Rafal Zawierucha as the junior police officer, who provides comic relief here and there, and who has to sacrifice his personal life to keep up with the very zealous Barski.
The Getaway King will leave you feeling invigorated
The cinematography of The Getaway King is a treat to the eyes and looks more like an artistic music video. With the use of over-colouring, smooth frames and slow motion, the film tries to recreate the nostalgia for the past and very successfully so. You will be left to admire each and every shot while enjoying the cool, groovy music. Although the use of slow-motion for not-so-great events in the film makes the scenes a bit unnecessary, you would wonder about the purpose of these grandiose shots. Even the music would seem a bit out of sync with the scene, a bit abject. But overall, the stylishness and over-the-top treatment of the film will definitely keep you hooked.
The Getaway King is, after all, an entertainer, even though it does show the social and economic aspects of the last years of Communist government in 80s Poland and the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1986. But these aspects are an aside in the eloquent but funny story of the titular “Gateway King” Najmrodzki, who, once he takes the centre stage, never leaves it.
The butt of the joke, of course, is the law enforcement, who actually let a thief escape 29 times, and these jokes are spread throughout the film and make up for good comedy. Najmrodzki works almost like a magician when escaping from the police, has great charisma, plans his robberies perfectly and is equally handsome. These diverse elements make the film oscillate between a heist, a romance and an action comedy film, working quite well in all the genres.
Watch The Getaway King for its enjoyable music, amazing performances by the actors, beautiful cinematography and an interesting premise. The Getaway King is ready to stream on Netflix.Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.