Vodka is God and believing in God is an addiction," reads a snatch of graffiti on a church, and that's about as deep as things go in this vigorous, violent, ultimately empty gabfest about thuggish lost youth. Programmers and buyers collecting Tarantino knockoffs from around the world will show interest, but "Monday," from veteran Polish cameraman and debut helmer Witold Adamek, will bring down everyone else.

Vodka is God and believing in God is an addiction,” reads a snatch of graffiti on a church, and that’s about as deep as things go in this vigorous, violent, ultimately empty gabfest about thuggish lost youth. Programmers and buyers collecting Tarantino knockoffs from around the world will show interest, but “Monday,” from veteran Polish cameraman and debut helmer Witold Adamek, will bring down everyone else.

It’s a rainy day as Maniek and his army buddy Dawid begin to work their way through the 35 names in a black book of debtors from the former’s ex-boss, given in lieu of wages. As the two roustabouts hone in on a set of victims who end up neatly turning the tables on them in the course of 24 hours, the garishly stylized lighting and character eccentricities (gherkin munching, cell-phone calls to check on a sick child) become almost suffocatingly heavy-handed. Among Adamek’s many lensing credits is Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “A Short Film About Love ,” a work with more insight into human lassitude in any given frame than “Monday” can muster over the course of its long, wasted day.

Monday

Polish

Production

A WFDiF/Vision Entertainment production. (International sales: Vision Entertainment, Warsaw.) Directed by Witold Adamek. Screenplay, Przemyslaw Wojcieszek, Adamek.

Crew

Camera (color), Adamek; editor, Milenia Fiedler. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Feb. 15, 1999. Running time: 84 MIN.

With

Bolec (Grzegorz Borek), Pawel Kukiz, Kinga Preiss, Michal Gadomski, Tomasz Stanko, Magdalena Pankowska-Shazza, Marek Bargielowski, Nagly Atak Spawacza, Kaliber 44.
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