Action / Drama


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Jeremy Irons as Nowak
David Calder as Supermarket Manager
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12hr 0 min
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23.976 fps
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by FilmCriticLalitRao 10 / 10

Moonlighting (1982), a great Polish film directed by Jerzy Skolimowski.

Moonlighting is an outstanding Polish film which deserves to be listed among top 100 world cinema films.It is a film which shows us that there are some cruel,inhuman,unjust political systems and political establishments who constantly deprive common people of earning their respective livelihoods.Moonlighting demonstrates that human life is full of misery as it can make somebody do things which one would normally not do in daily life.This is the case of a Polish foreman Novak who is in London with three construction workers known to him. For them,their work site appears more of a prison as they cannot go out.Skolimowski is as critical of the plight of clandestine workers as that of Polish government's decision to declare Martial Law.It is sad to learn that according to moonlighting some workers had to work for 18 hours a day.Anxiety,apprehension and confusion are immediately palpable to these people who have landed in London for earning extra money.For example :an airport scene shows Polish workers to be entirely dependent on Novak as he is the only person who speaks English.Touching too are the scenes in which Novak pilfers from a neighborhood supermarket.A word about Sir Jeremy Irons.He is a joy to watch as nobody expected him to play the role of Nowak with amazing inventiveness.

Reviewed by harry-76 7 / 10

Fascinating drama

"Moonlighting" is an engrossing film, made all the more unusual because of the

way it is treated. The basic situation is simple and somewhat routine; it's the way it unfolds that keeps interest high. The acting is fine, with Irons outstanding in the leading role. Unfortunately for me, I simply was not drawn to any of these characters by way of identifying with them. They seemed cold and self-absorbed, and in many ways quite pathetic. I felt as though I was observing rather than empathizing or becoming involved in their plight. Still, it is a very good film with strong production values.

Reviewed by William Ploch ([email protected]) 9 / 10

Powerfully acted and thoughtfully told

Jerzy Skolimowski's "Moonlighting" is an outstanding achievement in many respects. Not only does it contain one of the most fulfilling performances that has ever been put to the screen, but it also serves as a political allegory, a smartly-told drama, and a unique exercise in creating suspense.

On the surface, the story is rather simple: sometime in the early 80's, during the political turmoil that was occurring in Poland, a group of Polish workers emigrate to London to renovate an apartment for their boss. They have no working permits, so they have to do their job with as much secrecy as possible. When Novak (Jeremy Irons), their English-speaking foreman, discovers that military law has been declared in their homeland, he tries to keep it a secret until they are allowed back into the country.

This may not seem like much of a story compared to most modern thrillers. There are no police out to get Novak and his men, nor are there any political opponents out to assassinate them. They are simply there to do their job, and Novak has to make sure they do it effectively and on time. Small but crucial subplots develop out of this: in order to feed himself and his men, Novak has to fake receipts for food (due to the limited amount of money they brought with them), and there are several scenes where he tries to get past the clerks at a grocery store with a Christmas turkey. He also has to buy them clothes and fulfill some of their material demands. On top of that, he also begins to develop fears and worries about his wife back home, including the suspicion that his boss may be having an affair with her. As the story progresses, Novak's money runs lower and his fear and paranoia grows stronger.

Because he is the only one of them who can speak English, Novak is the only one who can communicate with the outside world. But he is also very manipulative, and serves as a symbol of a government that misled their people and kept them ignorant of many of their own problems. It is interesting to see how Skolimowski develops sympathy for poor Novak; for all his intelligence, he is still nothing more than a pawn in the hands of a corrupt government. He is a stranger in a strange land, lost and faking his knowledge of his whereabouts. It would have been difficult to make this film convincing had the lead role not been played to perfection, but Jeremy Irons does it with more grace and skill than any other actor possibly could. Much of his performance is spent in narration, subtly explaining his growing confusion and terror. There are several moments where he keeps a perfectly straight face while rambling on in his head about the grave situation he is in. His performance here holds its own in a year that also included Dustin Hoffman in "Tootsie," Ben Kingsly in "Gandhi," Gerard Depardieu in "Danton," Paul Newman in "The Verdict," Jurgen Prochnow in "Das Boot," and Jack Lemmon in "Missing."

Like Andrej Wajda (who made "Man of Marble" and "Danton"), Jerzy Skolimowski was an outspoken critic of Poland's communist regime. Curiously, he wrote the script in only a little over a day, and the whole production of the film took only a matter of months. Furthermore, the three Polish workers accompanying Novak in the story were actual Polish emigrants living (legally) in Skolimowski's home at the time military law was declared. "Moonlighting" won a well deserved screenplay award at Cannes and was nominated for the Palme d'Or.

This film is on video, but I do not think it is still being circulated. I hope they re-release it on video or DVD someday.

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