You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘The Closed Circuit’

A compelling, strongly performed political thriller set in contempo Poland.

With:
Janusz Gajos, Kazimierz Kaczor, Wojciech Zoladkowicz, Robert Olech, Przemyslaw Sadowski, Magdalena Kumorek, Monika Kwiatkowska, Jaroslaw Kopaczewski, Beata Scibakowna, Krzysztof Ogloza, Krzysztof Gordon. (Polish, English dialogue)

Inspired by real events, “The Closed Circuit” is a compelling, strongly performed political thriller about greed and corruption in contempo Gdansk, Poland, where some high-flying new entrepreneurs fall victim to the machinations of the city’s entrenched powers. One of the highest-grossing films of the year on home turf, this latest film from helmer Ryszard Bugajski (“Interrogation”) is traveling to independent venues in North America via new U.S. distributor Society Films.

The action begins in 2003, as young businessmen Piotr Maj (Robert Olech), Marek Stawski (Przemyslaw Sadowski) and Grzegorz Rybarcyzk (Jaroslaw Kopaczewski) throw a grand fete to open their new factory. They’re partners in a fast-growing, highly successful company called Navar, which produces high-tech electronics using state-of-the-art equipment from Denmark.

Lurking on the fringes of the festivities like some malevolent spider is district prosecutor Andrzej Kostrzewa (Janusz Gajos). A Communist Party stalwart from way back, Kostrzewa is a master manipulator and ruthless hunter who takes pleasure in eliminating weaker specimens. Joking that there are no honest businessmen in Poland, Kostrzewa establishes a secret alliance with city official Miroslaw Kaminski (Kazimierz Kaczor) and a high-ranking politician (Krzysztof Gordon), scheming to take over the company. They play on the ambitions of a pitbull-like younger prosecutor (Wojciech Zoladkowicz) and use him to carry out their insidious plan.

The businessmen are arrested and treated like dangerous criminals, accused of financial irregularities and money laundering. They are thrown into prison, where they face inhuman conditions, leaving Kostrzewa free to wheedle their shares from their significant others (Magdalena Kumorek, Monika Kwiatkowska and Beata Scibakowna). Meanwhile, an enterprising journalist (Krzysztof Ogloza) is assigned to chronicle Navar’s downfall, but the story he ultimately reports, documenting a closed circuit of corruption, doesn’t please his editor, much less those in the seats of power.

Co-written by producer Miroslaw Piepka and Michal S. Pruski, the screenplay shows how the ideas and entrepreneurial spirit of the new Poland threaten the older power brokers, whose thinking is deeply rooted in conspiracies and past pathologies. Although the dialogue and situations occasionally veer toward melodrama, director Bugajski keeps the overall tone closer to that of a political thriller. Fine performances rep the pic’s strong suit; although short and rather ordinary-looking, Gajos can be terrifying.

Tech credits are merely serviceable, with yellow-toned flashbacks to the 1960s looking particularly threadbare; it’s possible that the pic’s inherent criticism of the not-so-ancient regime accounts for why it received no funding from the Polish government. The producers ultimately raised a budget from a consortium of businesses.

Film Review: 'The Closed Circuit'

Reviewed at Society for Arts, Chicago, June 9, 2013. Running time: 110 MIN. Original title: "Uklad zamkniety"

Production: (Poland) A Society Films (in U.S.)/Kino Swiat (in Poland) release of a Filmicon Dom Filmowy production in co-production with Apella, Arche, Srodowisko i Innowacje, Eda Coffee, Hemarpol Sp, Orlex, Silesian Catalysts, Polcopper, Schach-Matt, and Drop. (International sales: EastWest, Vienna.) Produced by Olga Bieniek, Miroslaw Piepka.

Crew: Directed by Ryszard Bugajski. Screenplay, Miroslaw Piepka, Michal S. Pruski. Camera (color, HD), Piotr Sobocinski Jr.; editor, Irena Siedlar; music, Shane Harvey; production designer, Aniko Kiss; costumer designer, Krzysztof Loszewski; sound (SR), Adam Wilk.

With: Janusz Gajos, Kazimierz Kaczor, Wojciech Zoladkowicz, Robert Olech, Przemyslaw Sadowski, Magdalena Kumorek, Monika Kwiatkowska, Jaroslaw Kopaczewski, Beata Scibakowna, Krzysztof Ogloza, Krzysztof Gordon. (Polish, English dialogue)

More Film

  • Timothy Spall, Vanessa Redgrave's 'Mrs Lowry

    Timothy Spall, Vanessa Redgrave's 'Mrs Lowry & Son' Wraps Filming, New Image Released (EXCLUSIVE)

    Inspired by real events, “The Closed Circuit” is a compelling, strongly performed political thriller about greed and corruption in contempo Gdansk, Poland, where some high-flying new entrepreneurs fall victim to the machinations of the city’s entrenched powers. One of the highest-grossing films of the year on home turf, this latest film from helmer Ryszard Bugajski […]

  • Regisseur Lars Kraume am Set von

    Berlin Profiles: Lars Kraume, Director of 'The Silent Revolution'

    Inspired by real events, “The Closed Circuit” is a compelling, strongly performed political thriller about greed and corruption in contempo Gdansk, Poland, where some high-flying new entrepreneurs fall victim to the machinations of the city’s entrenched powers. One of the highest-grossing films of the year on home turf, this latest film from helmer Ryszard Bugajski […]

  • Maxime Saada Canal Plus Group

    Vivendi’s Canal Plus Group Creates Film Division

    Inspired by real events, “The Closed Circuit” is a compelling, strongly performed political thriller about greed and corruption in contempo Gdansk, Poland, where some high-flying new entrepreneurs fall victim to the machinations of the city’s entrenched powers. One of the highest-grossing films of the year on home turf, this latest film from helmer Ryszard Bugajski […]

  • 3 Tage in Quiberon 3 Days

    Berlin Profile: Emily Atef Takes Snapshot of Romy Schneider in '3 Days in Quiberon’

    Inspired by real events, “The Closed Circuit” is a compelling, strongly performed political thriller about greed and corruption in contempo Gdansk, Poland, where some high-flying new entrepreneurs fall victim to the machinations of the city’s entrenched powers. One of the highest-grossing films of the year on home turf, this latest film from helmer Ryszard Bugajski […]

  • Berlin: Brazil Buys Remake Rights to

    Berlin: Brazil Buys Remake Rights to 'Corazon de Leon’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Inspired by real events, “The Closed Circuit” is a compelling, strongly performed political thriller about greed and corruption in contempo Gdansk, Poland, where some high-flying new entrepreneurs fall victim to the machinations of the city’s entrenched powers. One of the highest-grossing films of the year on home turf, this latest film from helmer Ryszard Bugajski […]

  • Watch: Dakota Fanning's Directorial Debut Short

    Watch: Dakota Fanning's Directorial Debut Short 'Hello Apartment'

    Inspired by real events, “The Closed Circuit” is a compelling, strongly performed political thriller about greed and corruption in contempo Gdansk, Poland, where some high-flying new entrepreneurs fall victim to the machinations of the city’s entrenched powers. One of the highest-grossing films of the year on home turf, this latest film from helmer Ryszard Bugajski […]

  • TrustNordisk Enlists EFM for Norwegian Folklore

    TrustNordisk Enlists EFM for Norwegian Folklore Pic 'The Ash Lad' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Inspired by real events, “The Closed Circuit” is a compelling, strongly performed political thriller about greed and corruption in contempo Gdansk, Poland, where some high-flying new entrepreneurs fall victim to the machinations of the city’s entrenched powers. One of the highest-grossing films of the year on home turf, this latest film from helmer Ryszard Bugajski […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content