I Know Who Did It

I Know Who Did It

***1/2

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

A man getting out of his depth when seeking to avenge the woman he loves is a petty hackneyed theme in cinema. This intense Polish short doesn't pull off quite as many original twists as it thinks it does, but a strong central performance and a brittle authenticity render it comfortably above average for this sort of fare.

Our hero is a young man, just returning from military service; he's clearly physically competent but he's also socially and emotionally naive. When he finds that his girlfriend has been left comatose after a brutal attack he is caught between devastation and fury. Discovering the identity of the attacker is foremost in his mind. Yet what follows - and what happens after his girlfrend wakes up - will force him to question not only that identity but also his own.

Made on a low budget, I Know Who Did It makes good use of simple, grim locations, giving it a properly noirish atmosphere. There are problems with pacing and it suffers from poor editing, with some shots pasted together in a rather slapdash way. The rapid cutting in two key scenes is a bold approach that ulimately doesn't work, but it's still refreshing to see a director in this genre trying to do something different. The slower scenes, where the focus is on the actors, are what really pay dividends, and here the film benefits from a humanity too often absent in revenge films. It carries an unusual amount of emotional weight as a result.

Throughout the film, images of animals abound, raising questions about human nature. There's also a persistence of water-based imagery. Characters attempting to clean themselves seem at odds with the grime everywhere in their surroundings - even in the hospital. Can they ever be free of the stains of guilt - and, if not, can love provide reason enough to live despite it?

Reviewed on: 08 Oct 2012
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A man returning from military service is expecting to meet his girlfriend but when he gets to the station, she's not there...

Director: Jan P Matuszyński

Writer: Jan P MatuszyƄski

Starring: Lesław Żurek, Roma Gąsiorowska, Grażyna Barszczewska, Marek Kalita, Henryk Talar

Year: 2008

Runtime: 26 minutes

Country: Poland

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