Review: ‘Case Unknown’

Feliks Falk's latest political thriller co-written with Agnieszka Holland boasts a real narrative humdinger.

Inveterate Polish cynic Feliks Falk’s latest political thriller co-written with Agnieszka Holland boasts a real narrative humdinger. “Case Unknown” pits the its ambitious, right-minded hero (heroism being a relative term in a Falk film) against apparent official corruption: A doctor, desperate for a research subject, probes the history of a mental patient whose files have mysteriously disappeared, and brings the patient home to his wife and daughter for safekeeping. Part “What About Bob?” part “Frankenstein,” this deliciously sly pic should prove a welcome addition to the fest circuit.

Dr. Konstanty Grot (Borys Szyc), filled with the hubris of youth, dreams of scoring a double coup: curing a patient no one else could reach and exposing dark dealings in the higher echelons of government. The instrument of his genius is sad-sack catatonic Pawel Plocki (Grzegorz Wolf), whose protracted stay in a mental institution has left him barely functional. Under Konstanty’s mother-hen care, his charge is soon lumbering about, showing signs of renascent humanity. But when the crusading doctor uncovers the truth about his guinea pic, the dramatic revelation proves his own undoing.

Case Unknown



A Documentary & Feature Film Studio -- WFDIF production, co-funded by the Polish Film Institute. (International sales: Monolith Plus, Warsaw.) Produced by Wlodzimierz Niderhaus. Directed by Feliks Falk. Screenplay, Falk, in cooperation with Agnieszka Holland.


Camera (color) Arkadiuz Tomiak; editor, Krzysztof Szpetmanski; music, Bartlomiej Gliniak; production designer, Teresa Gruber; costume designer, Malgorzata Obloza. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (competing), Aug. 30, 2009. Running time: 99 MIN.


Borys Szyc, Grzegorz Wolf, Magdalena Walach, Grzegorz Kwiecien, Krzysztof Stroinski, Marian Opania.

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