Review: ‘Facing Up’

Acknowledging past crimes leads to painful redemption in the earnest Polish meller "Facing Up."

Acknowledging past crimes leads to painful redemption in the earnest Polish meller “Facing Up.” A disadvantaged youth tries to break free from the group of petty thieves who form his alternate family, with predictable results. Debuting writer-director Marek Stacharski brings nothing new to a familiar tale that’s been seen often and told better. Co-produced by Polish Television, modest pic is best suited to the smallscreen, although it has already played at Polish events around the U.S. and in London.

Irresponsible, sexually naive 20-year-old Stan (Bartosz Turzynski) repairs cars for a kindly mechanic, but gets fired when he prioritizes his delinquent friends over the job. The gang tells him to celebrate, since he earns more robbing drunks on the street anyway. One night, Stan’s pressured into participating in a gang rape. When he breaks his leg fleeing another felony, he winds up at a hospital where his pretty nurse (Aleksandra Niespielak) turns out to be the assault victim. Subpar in most respects, from acting to tech credits, pic scores only with its sincerity. At screening caught in Karlovy Vary, 35mm print (a blow-up from DV) lacked a full color range.

Facing Up

Poland

Production

A Federico Film presentation, in association with Telwizja Polska. (International sales: Federico Film, Warsaw.) Produced by Feodor Popov. Co-producers, Ludmila Kukoba. Marek Stacharski. Directed, written by Marek Stacharski.

Crew

Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Per Tingleff; editor, Marek Mirkiewicz; art director, Stefan Brysiak. Reviewed at Karlovy Vary Film Festival (East of the West), July 1, 2007. (Also in Gdynia, Gothenburg film festivals.) Running time: 104 MIN.

With

Bartosz Turzynski, Aleksandra Niespielak, Janusz Chabior, Eryk Lubos, Gabriela Kownacka.
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