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also known as Swiadek Koronny

The Crown Witness2007

  • 3.6
Based on an actual event, THE CROWN WITNESS tells the story of an investigative reporter and a gangster who meet for an interview. The reporter carries a deep dark secret while the gangster (who has turned over a new leaf for a woman) is the star witness in a trial against his former mob associates. Both seek justice for different reasons. With this breakout performance, popular television actor Pawel Malaszynski demonstrates the extent of his impressive capabilities.

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1 member likes this review

Everyone reminded me of American working class folks I've traded tales with at the village watering hole. The movie is a series of flashbacks in a high risk interview between a mobster and his victim. As their personalities develop, we are pleased to learn that they are not so different afterall: They love their wife and kids.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (5)

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top reviewer

Everyone reminded me of American working class folks I've traded tales with at the village watering hole. The movie is a series of flashbacks in a high risk interview between a mobster and his victim. As their personalities develop, we are pleased to learn that they are not so different afterall: They love their wife and kids.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

The Crown Witness (2007) (aka Swiadek koronny) is a "thinking man's" action gangster film. Superficially, it looks like your typical Hollywood style gangster film with lots of sex and violence, but beneath the surface there is a psychological dimension to this film that gives it real artistic merit.

The main storyline that transpires in the present is supplemented by secondary storyline consisting of chronologically sequenced flashbacks from the past. The editing to interweave the flashbacks into the present moment is done quite skillfully, and to good dramatic effect.

The story concept is unique and compelling, and is fleshed out quite adequately through a well thought out, and very detailed screenplay.

The basic story concept is that an investigative crime reporter, Marcin, gets an exclusive on camera interview with a former gangster, Blacha, who has "flipped" and become a protected state's witness against his many former cronies. Blacha's reason for granting the interview seems to be that he wants to rehabilitate his public persona as a man who has "turned the page", and is starting a new life as a "reformed good citizen". What Blacha doesn't know is that a bomb he planted to kill an associate years ago took out Marcin's pregnant wife as collateral damage. Because Marcin keeps this secret through the interview until the very end, there is a palpable psychological tension that develops as the film progresses. Marcin becomes more visibly distressed, and Blacha seems to sense that "something's up" with his interviewer but can't put his finger on it. The psychological tension is increased by the changing demeanor of Marcin's attractive camera gal, Iwona, who doesn't seem to know Marcin's secret either until the end.

There are actually two Blacha characters played by the same actor in the film, each with his own distinctive personality. The Blacha of the past, portrayed in the sequenced flashbacks, is generally your typical criminal psychopath, with little true empathy for those around him as he carries on with his mayhem. The present day Blacha, sitting in the interview, looks like a refined gentleman with gracious manners, and a sensitivity to those around him. As present day Blacha recounts the crimes of his past in the persona of his former self, both Marcin and Iwona become more and more affected, not only because Blacha's former lifestyle was so horrific, but also because present day Blacha seems to be "above it all", as if his criminal past was, in fact, that of a completely different person. It is both the horror of the stories that Blacha is recounting, and that they are now told now by a man who seems to have detached himself from these stories, who now seems to be no longer responsible for his former crimes in his present day "reformed" status that emotionally provokes both Marcin and Iwona. This film is rather deep and provocative in this regard.

Overall, the cinematography and editing in this film are superior. Montage is used extensively to create appropriate dramatic effects. The interspersed shots of seemingly irrelevant, even trivial details are very interesting. In short, this film is very visually pleasing.

The acting by the whole cast is very good. But the acting by Robert Wieckiewicz is exceptional, believably portraying two different personas, past and present, of the same character Blacha. Wieckiewicz not only successfully executes this dual personality role, but does so with the subtle interlaced nuances that are needed to connect the two personalities in the viewer's perception.

Well shot, nicely composed scenes draws you in, subtitles flash by a little too quickly, well edited interesting movie.

interesting, even when you know what will happen

Entralling.