How I Fell in Love with a Gangster is too overwrought with style and uneven in its storytelling to be taken seriously.
This review of the Netflix film How I Fell in Love with a Gangster does not contain spoilers.
Netflix’s Polish crime genre import, How I Fell in Love with a Gangster, is an utterly ridiculous Goodfellas wannabe. In fact, it comes closer to the fake film inside the Entourage series, Medellin. A film that takes a highly dramatic license of the rise and fall of Nikodem “Nikos” Skotarczak, who was one of the most notorious gangsters in Poland’s history. It’s a cartoonish and awfully uneven entry in the crime genre.
Directed by Maciej Kawulski, he hasn’t learned less from his similarly styled 365 Days. Kawulski co-wrote the film with Krzysztof Gureczny; the first hour could be considered an adaptation of Niko’s little black book. Kawulski seems more interested in establishing style (lame humor and incongruent soundtrack choices do not help that) over substance as he sleeps his way through almost any woman he comes across, making his way East to West.
The film stays true to its theme of living life to the fullest by screwing your brains out before you get those brains blown out. Yet, that leads the film to be so overwrought with stylized filmmaking you hardly get to know the ins and outs of Skotarczak’s criminal empire. (You are never told, specifically, what he is selling illegally in the first hour). Sure, human behavior can be motivated by sex and money. But an underlying motivation drove him to the point of short-lived prosperous existence.
Now, I will give Kawulski credit for attempting to smooth out its storytelling inconsistencies. They do a better job detailing the new smuggling operation. Even detailing how he escaped prison may be the film’s most well-shot scene. However, the entire experience cannot be done, and it is as uneven as one film can get. For example, the final third act seems to be inspired by the Josh Trank Capote playbook.
Even if it’s understood stories here that in the script are being presented and told from a third party resting and most of the information is coming secondhand from people who are liars, it’s hard to take the story seriously. Especially since the filmmakers don’t put the same care by a fitting encased in a true story that is highly fictionalized in the first place.
Kawulski’s How I Fell in Love with a Gangster should get his dramatic license revoked.
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