An intense cop drama high on action and emotion
The new Polish feature on Netflix runs a handsome 140 minutes long. But once you get in the groove, the runtime is deeply rewarding. ‘Furioza’ works on a pretty simple plot without too many complications. A taciturn policewoman (Dzika) investigates a crime cartel, whose head is her ex-boyfriend’s brothers. Their treacherous past and macabre present prove no bar in their professional relationship. She threatens him to help in her investigation – or else.
The seeming straightforwardness of ‘Furioza’ is married craftily with a generous exposition of life in the hood. A lot of Poland’s unique local culture is brought into the storytelling making it an admirable ethos of social life in the country. The streets, brotherhood, and gang mania transform the visual appeal of ‘Furioza’. So even if you do not find the emotions of the story to your taste, you still have something to take away from the film.
There is a sense of dynamism to how the story plays out. The camera is constantly on the move and gives you the impression that the volatility imitates its cinematic universe’s tension. The game of high stakes involves deeper questions of morality, betrayal, and redemption, which are not easily separated. Director Cyprian Olencki does not explore them in their entirety and is a tad wasteful with his handling.
The film maintains the calm it establishes in the first shot, even though it has the edges of a gritty crime drama. The script never deviates from its track by blending gritty dialogue with that. Since the plot is straightforward and the character studies happen superficially, the screenplay can’t deviate from what the movie is about. The writers understand the weight to be given to the examination of their characters’ state of mind and keep the foray light. More emphasis is laid on framing the action sequences, which are breathtaking. It is more in the bracket of films like ‘Atomic Blonde’ and ‘Wrath of Man’ if you want a reference.
It is definitely not an easy task to manage so many people on screen. Credit where due has to be given to the choreographers who pull off the fighting triumphantly. Consistent with the tone of the story, the bleakness of the colors is also in sync with where the story is going. Like any film about crime and infiltration, ‘Furioza’ relies heavily on its core conflict. At times, the event that pushes human beings into transcending the contours of civility and embracing violence can be underwhelming.
Many unsuspecting films have been victims of this problem. And because the very source of the tension does not sit right with the viewer, the subsequent experience turns out to be a tepid one. But ‘Furioza’ encounters no such problems. Much of the first half is taken to set in the claws tight and deliver the right kind of motivation to its enablers. Then when you see the men in action, it carries the right impact and punches to be effective.
To be honest, ‘Furioza’ is not a film for the everyday cinemagoer. The variety it manages to touch upon cannot upend its central strength and themes. Those familiar with action movies set in a similar environment (something like ‘A Prayer Before the Dawn’) will not find it difficult to operate with its tone. But for those who aren’t, the experience can be a bit light.
Read More: Furioza Ending Explained
Verdict - 6.5/10