Monday, September 7, 2015

677. Czlowiek z zelaza/Man of Iron (1981)

Running Time: 153 minutes
Directed By: Andrzej Wajda
Written By: Aleksander Scibor-Rylski
Main Cast: Jerzy Radziwilowicz, Krystyna Janda, Marian Opania, Irena Byrska, Wieslawa Kosmalska


Hey, it only about two weeks, but I finally managed to bring myself to watch Wajda's Man of Iron and cap of the double shot tribute to the Polish filmmaker. My wife and I did a Redbox run before we came home tonight, therefore tonight is about quality time. However, she's assured me that she'll do at least one BOOK movie with me tomorrow and then I need to get scootin' if I wanna wrap it up by Halloween. Read on...

Here comes yet another one where I really can't go too deep with plot synopsis, as I was sort of lost and it was probably my own fault to boot. I definitely mentally checked out of this one at around the one hour mark, but it seemed to pretty much pick up right where Man of Marble left off, giving us an even further Polish history lesson. While Man of Marble focuses on fictional character Mateusz Birkut, Man of Iron focuses on his son, Maciej Tomczyk (both played by Radziwilowicz). Here, Krystyna Janda's character is actually married to Tomczyk and the two have a baby. There's also a character named Winkel (Opania), who basically replaces the role that Janda's character played in the first one, going around and asking the questions, getting the history. Instead of shooting a film however, it is Winkel's task to get some dirt on Tomczyk, so that his opposing party can smear him. As Winkel digs deeper and deeper, he begins to side with Tomczyk on the issues, getting the real story from Tomczyk's college roommate and Janda's Agnieszka. That's about the long & short of it.

Actually that's not too bad for someone who mentally checked out at the hour mark. I pretty much have the same thoughts here that I did for Man of Iron, except (and THE BOOK even agrees) I actually liked Man of Marble a bit better. I felt that the story of Marble flowed a lot better and was more accepting of outsiders, who may not know the back story of the propaganda that Wajda was trying to spread. I felt that Man of Marble was more inviting to ignoramuses, in other words. On the other hand, Man of Iron seemed to be more of an insider film - like you had to know a bit of Polish history to "get it" all. Man of Iron, as Woody Allen would say, was too much like doing a homework assignment and less like a night at the pictures. I really feel like all propaganda films should have been left out of THE BOOK, as they serve a 100%, entirely different purpose than movies that are for sheer entertainment value. There's no way to compare this to something like The Jerk or Airplane!, as the two categories are apples & oranges and shouldn't even be mentioned together. But what do I know...Take a pass here, unless you're really into history - then enjoy!

RATING: 3.5/10  I dropped it a half notch compared to Man of Marble, simply to convey that Marble WAS better. They're both a couple of stinkers though and I'd suggest avoiding the lot - again, unless you're into history.


September 7, 2015  8:08pm


  1. Good fair comments - especialy the faux Woody Allen quote (or is it a real one?).. but I'm going to goall Lza Simpson on you and say 'But I LIKE doing homework'

    I've seen several Wajda's and I reckon I like his stuff .. but I am quite a history buff (and I'm European).. I fully understand anyone else finding them less than rewarding.

    1. No, it's definitely a real Woody Allen quote. I saw an interview with him somewhere where he cited how certain movies are like doing homework.

      I'm just glad to be done with these two.


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