The Getaway King review – the brilliant tale of a legendary Polish outlaw

May 11, 2022
Kira Comerford 0
Film Reviews, Netflix, Streaming Service
4

Summary

The Getaway King is a fascinating retelling of the final days of a Polish folk hero.

4

Summary

The Getaway King is a fascinating retelling of the final days of a Polish folk hero.

This review of the Netflix film The Getaway King does not contain spoilers.

The Getaway King recounts the life of Zdzislaw Najmrodzki (played here by Dawid Ogrodnik) as his outlaw lifestyle collides with love, the final days of communism in Poland, and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

This is a fascinating and charming Polish true crime biography, following a truly magnetic individual who wasn’t quite a modern-day Robin Hood but seems to have been pretty close to it, at least in his home country. It’s one of those stories that you would struggle to make up, and whilst I’m sure there are elements of The Getaway King that have been embellished for the sake of cinema, I love the idea that someone like Najmro existed so recently.

Stylistically, The Getaway King is bold and brazen, much like its titular protagonist. The music and general aesthetic instantly reminded me of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven, and when you consider the heist elements at play in the narrative, the whole film has a general whiff of the aforementioned title about it.

Even the editing side had a similar feel, although this was something that was slightly less for me than the other parts of The Getaway King. In some sequences, it tried too much and bordered on becoming an advert for menswear. Alongside this, I think the colorist went a little overboard with grading the film — there was so much orange and teal on display that it really started to mess with my eyes later on in the film. I also have to say that I wasn’t big on the Instagram-style filters that seemed to add random patches of red to each and every frame throughout — it became more of a distraction that I had to block out, and where it was more obvious, really took me out of particular moments.

As I said at the start, The Getaway King is one of those stories that, to some extent at least, HAD to be true; it would be hard for someone to pluck this idea of a thief who managed to escape the law 29 times and it not become farcical if it wasn’t based on real-life. This stranger-than-fiction tale made for a really solid narrative, and besides a small dip towards the end of the second act prior to picking up again at the start of the third, the pacing was bang on for much of its 100-minute runtime. This was, of course, massively helped by The Getaway King’s more action-packed set-pieces — there are some quality car chases that punctuate this film — but it was also nice to be allowed a breather during the quieter, more intimate moments between Najmro and Teresa (Masza Wagrocka).

Of course, all of this would be for nothing if the man The Getaway King is all about was someone audiences would struggle to engage with. It’s clear to me from this that despite not being a more traditionally revered character, Najmro is someone that there’s a quiet adoration for. The way he was presented here reminded me of Leonardo DiCaprio’s outing as Frank Abagnale in Catch Me If You Can, which, oddly enough, bears a lot of similarities to this film. On paper, we should abhor what they got up to, but when you look at the sheer moxie they had, you can’t help but admire what they pulled off.

Overall, I really liked The Getaway King. If I’m being honest, there was a lot here for me to fall in love with as films like these are usually a very easy sell for me. The main thing is making sure that the protagonist is nailed on; that they’re someone the audience is going to love, and whilst I can’t speak for the real-life Najmro, this depiction here was so charismatic, creative, and wholly loveable that everything else more or less fell into place around him.

What did you think of the Netflix film The Getaway King? Comment below.

You can watch this film with a subscription to Netflix. 

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