Netflix’s The Getaway King aka Najmro is a Polish action comedy based on the life of Zdzisław Najmrodzki — a high profile thief, infamous for escaping from the grasp of the police 29 times. His criminal activities were at an all time high during the time of the Polish People’s Republic in the ’80s.
The Getaway King starts by establishing the dire condition of Poland’s communist government during the 80s and how basic goods were hard to come by for common people.
Enter, Zdzisław Najmrodzki (Dawid Ogrodnik), a flamboyant thief who along with his team — Antos (Jakub Gierszał), Teplic (Andrzej Andrzejewski) and Młoda (Sandra Drzymalska) — robs Pewex store outlets and sells the loot to regular folks. He has a 2 million zloty bounty on his head.
His case is taken up by a newly appointed officer of the Civilian’s Militia, Lieutenant Barski (Robert Więckiewicz), who is hell bent on putting an end to this menace. Meanwhile, Najmrodzki falls for a girl named Tereska (Masza Wągrocka) and the two start dating after a series of flirtatious encounters.
Najmrodzki moves to stealing cars from the rich and selling them in the open market, attracting more attention from the authorities. He is captured numerous times but manages to escape. Amid this continuous game of cat and mouse, all hell breaks lose when one of his own snitches to the police.
Dawid Ogrodnik is delightful to watch as the protagonist. He plays Najmrodzki with an infectious charm that is hard to resist. He steals every scene he’s in and creates a great balance of flamboyance and brains as he makes a joke of the authorities with his antics.
Masza Wągrocka shines opposite Ogrodnik and plays Tereska with just the right amount of ferocity and mystique. Her subtle expressions, precise dialogue delivery and just the right amount extravagance balances out Najmrodzki’s over-the-top character.
Robert Więckiewicz as Barski is a bit of confusing performance. His expressions are mostly wooden throughout the film which does not come across as pleasing but somehow adds to the character’s personality. He is silent, focussed and rarely speaks which does not leave much room for a display of acting chops.
Jakub Gierszał as Antos is a pleasant surprise. He is mostly hidden behind the more prominent characters for most of the film but really gets to let loose towards the third act. His transition into a drug addicted criminal is intense and his performance showcases the insanity that drives the character.
The rest of the supporting cast does their part well with what they are given which is not much. For instance Rafał Zawierucha as Ujma is mainly reduced to a comic relief which isn’t really required.
One of the best things about The Getaway King is the way it has been shot. Director Mateusz Rakowicz uses a perfect blend of stylised slow motion shots, fast paced transitions, groovy music and a vibrant colour grading that enhances the viewing experience to another level.
The narrative is evenly paced and the runtime is perfectly spread out at 100 minutes on the clock. Moreover, the film succeeds to present an honest picture of Poland in the ’80s.
The Getaway King also subtly touches on the political turmoils of Poland during those times and presents the country’s transition into democracy in a seamless manner that does not take away from the main characters.
It also is a great blend of multiple genres like action, comedy, romance, crime, and does justice to all of them with its brilliant narrative.
There isn’t a lot to dislike in The Getaway King. The predictability factor is always there with a film based on true events but it really doesn’t try to hide its intentions.
The deception in the final act is easily decipherable and does not present any shock value whatsoever. Some of supporting characters could have been given more screen time to show off their acting chops as well but perhaps the short runtime did not allow for that.
The Getaway King is a great movie watching experience. With stellar cinematography, an attractive storyline and extremely charismatic protagonists, this one is a must watch.