Netflix’s Lesson Plan is a Polish action thriller that follows a former police officer, Damian, mourning the death of his wife. After his best friend — who is a school teacher — is murdered and framed by a narcotics gang, Damian decides to go undercover as his replacement at the school and avenge his death.
Lesson Plan starts with Police officer Damian Nowicki working undercover as a drug dealer to apprehend a powerful kingpin. He gets caught and is attacked, but manages to subdue the target.
However, his identity being out in the open leaves him vulnerable, and as a result, his wife is killed by the gang. Unable to handle the trauma, he quits the force and descends into alcoholism.
Meanwhile, his best friend Szymon Makowiecki discovers the dealing of drugs at the school he teaches in. After a student dies, he asks Damian for help, but he refuses.
Szymon continues to investigate the situation and is killed by the perpetrators. The gang uses this opportunity to frame him as the dealer at school, ruining his reputation.
Damian is distraught and decides to take up the vacant history teacher position at Szymon’s school. He aims to avenge his friend, clear his name, and end this drug racket and for all.
Piotr Witkowski plays Damian Nowicki and carries the whole film on his shoulders. His is the only character that has an arc. He effortlessly goes from a traumatised alcoholic wreck to a charming undercover teacher.
However, we do often see him fighting his internal demons as the story progresses, and he does so in a believable and relatable manner.
Antonina Jarnuszkiewicz as Agata Kierska is reduced to a love interest, who is unable to get close to Damian due to his past. She shines with what she is given, but her character feel underutilised.
The rest of the cast, including the antagonists and the school kids, give a very one dimensional performance. Most of them have a single expression throughout the film and feel quite wooden. Most of the characterisations are quite forgetful, but this can be due to the subpar writing.
Lesson Plan presents a raw picture of teenage drug use and everything disastrous that follows it. From detachment and obsession to mind-numbing addiction and death, the plot delves into all aspects.
Furthermore, it even showcases the bad side of trauma via Damian’s story. His character is driven by vengeance initially, but decides to go through with the investigation for the sake of his students, showing impeccable growth.
The film has some nice background music as well.
Lesson Plan suffers from predictability and repetition. You can see every major plot turn coming from a mile away. Also, the fight sequences are too many, and not very well choreographed or edited.
Everywhere Damian goes, he apparently has to beat up a few guys. The writers could have found a better way to emphasise his hand-to-hand combat skills. Furthermore, there are way too many cuts during them.
The plot is also quite dependant on Damian’s character. A little more attention to some students or the antagonists would have made this film a much better experience. An extended runtime would have been welcomed.
Another questionable aspect is the film’s inconsistent intentions. It goes from a high school investigative thriller to a martial arts film and back. Unfortunately, this adds to the confusion, making Lesson Plan feel quite jarring at times.
Lesson Plan is quite a forgetful actioner with a predictable plot and average performances. However, it has moments of brilliance in its depiction of the dark underbelly of narcotics and trauma. If you’re looking for a quick one-time binge, this Polish film might not be too bad of an option.
Director: Daniel Markowicz
Date Created: 2022-11-24 09:28