Sometimes I’ll go into a film more or less blind, knowing little to nothing about what I’m about to see, but there’s usually at least one tangible element or detail I can latch on to. In the case of Polish musical #WszystkoGra (which Google will tell you translates to ‘All Right’, but the subtitles said means ‘Game On’) however, I was in truly untested waters. Something regular readers will know is that I very much enjoy the experience of watching foreign films, especially from countries not normally known for contributing much to the global industry, and since musicals are few and far between in English Language cinema, there was hope that this could really make it’s mark.
Three generations of women are all faced with possibly losing their home, a house their family has lived in since 1939, which as most people know was not a great time to be living in Poland. Zosia (Eliza Rycembel) is just about to move to London, but in the mean time is trying to start a political movement against the property developers that are threatening to buy up their land. Her Mother Roma (Kinga Preis) is at a complete standstill in her life. She has no career prospects, is divorced, and her dream of being an artist is all but over. Her Mother (who’s name I can’t seem to find anywhere, but is played by Stanislawa Celinska) is just trying to hold onto their house, because she knows what it means to their family.
The trailer for this film promised some of Poland’s greatest hits, and there sure were a lot of them. This film is only about ninety minutes long, but it seemed like there was at least that much time spent on music alone. The songs were hit and miss, with some having great visuals to accompany them, and other feeling shoehorned in, but it’s hard to judge a film like this on music alone, as so much of the effect will no doubt be lost by reading lyrics as subtitles. To put it simply, I didn’t love the music, but it wasn’t enough to ruin the film for me.
What did ruin the film was a number of other things. As I’ve already said, this film is a jukebox musical, a genre notorious for feeling like a string of songs crudely pasted together with a paper thin plot. Never has that been more obvious than in #WszystkoGra. For example, there’s a subplot involving the Polish international football team captain struggling with alcoholism. Yes, it’s strange, no, it doesn’t fit into the story, and even worse, it has no resolution.
In fact, none of the plot threads really resolve properly. Things are introduced that are then never mentioned again, or if they are it will be for one shot during a musical number. At one point a character even discovers something vital to the plot, which for some unexplained reason is never brought back up. I can take music that I’m not into, but nonsensical sloppy writing is something else.
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