Release Date: June 15th, 2007 (Lincoln Plaza Cinemas) by Red Envelope Entertainment and Laemmle/Zeller Films.
The Cast: Katharina Thalbach, Andrzej Chyra, Dominique Horwitz, Andrzej Grabowski, Dariusz Kowalski, Ewa Telega, Wojciech Pszoniak.
Directed by Volker Schlöndorff.
In Polish and German with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: Agnieszka (Thalbach), a crane operator, convinced workers at her factory to go on strike, which started a Solidarity movement and lead to democracy in Poland. Based on a true story.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Strike boasts a strong performance by Katharina Thalbach as Agnieskza in a by-the-numbers and somewhat contrived plot. Agnieskza has been an employee at a factory since 1951 and raises her son on her own when her husband (Horwitz) dies. None of the workers in the factor receive an adequate salary while the factory administrator (Grabowski) doesn’t care. Everything changes after an accident on the shipyard when 22 workers died, but none of their widows were rewarded monetarily by the government. Agnieskza tries her best to improve the working conditions of her co-workers such as by offering them soup and trying to get them to strike. A full strike doesn’t happen until later in the second act in 1980. The set/costume designs and the cinemtography help to create an authentic feel of those times and highlight the poor working conditions. However, co-writer/director Volker Schlöndorff should have included more scenes with the big 1980 strike rather than merely leading up to it. Many scenes before that merely feel like a by-the-numbers exposition which lacks the intensity expected. At least Katharina Thalbach gives an intense performance which adds some well-needed liveliness and keeps you moderately absorbed by the drama.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: None, other than the basic message that one person can make a difference.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A somewhat contrived and by-the-numbers plot.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 3
IN A NUTSHELL: Katharina Thalbach’s intense performance and gritty cinematography compensate for a somewhat contrived and by-the-numbers plot.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: DVD
The "S" Menu