Operation: Nation Review – An Unfunny, Unfocused Tale

By Emma Vine
Published: April 13, 2023 (Last updated: last month)
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Operation: Nation Review
Operation: Nation (Credit - Netflix)
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Summary

Though the cast of Operation: Nation do all they can with the material presented, the film has too many moving parts and tries too hard, resulting in unfunny, unfocused chaos.

Netflix’s foreign film, Operation: Nation, known in its language as Kryptonim Polska, hails from Poland, taking satire to a new level. The movie, written by Jakub Ruzyllo and Lukasz Sychowicz and directed by Piotr Kumik, explores a not-so-intelligent nationalist group amidst a love story with a twist.

Staszek (Maciej Musialowski) is a twenty-year-old looking for a purpose. He yearns to be a footballer, but a sustained injury ended his chances for a career in the sport. After letting go of his dream, he began working at a local car lot alongside his pretentious boss, who has money but doesn’t consider making Staszek a permanent worker or paying him a decent wage.

Staszek has to share a small room with his K-pop-loving sister at home, but he can’t wait to move out and obtain independence and freedom. Staszek’s cousin Roman (Borys Szyc) leads a nationalist group named ZMR/RYS and encourages Staszek to join, as he thinks he’s intelligent and could contribute as a member.

Staszek is the outcast of the group and is far too nice to carry out any acts of violence, nor does he share their extreme beliefs. While attempting to prove himself to ZMR/RYS as a dedicated member, Staszek meets Pola (Magdalena Mascianica), a leftist activist who hates everything about the nationalist group.

She also doesn’t know he’s part of the clan, and Staszek does whatever he can to hide it. As the pair start to date and grow closer, Staszek’s best-kept secret becomes increasingly challenging as their relationship progresses.

Musialowski and Mascianica have great chemistry, but other plot lines overshadow their love story, making it feel rushed and undeveloped. This is unfortunate, as scenes between the two are some of the most enjoyable in the film, but they just aren’t enough to get the viewer invested in their budding relationship.

Another drawback of their romance is predictability, knowing halfway through the movie how their love story will conclude. Pola and Staszek are both interesting characters, and Musialowski and Mascianica do all they can in their roles.

Operation: Nation (Credit – Netflix)

Still, the material fails to create an emotional response with the viewer and is too light-hearted and lackluster. The same can be said for Szyc, who is perfect as Roman but is let down by an undesirable script. Humor is also a disappointment, with a juvenile approach to comedy. I get that Operation: Nation is going for an outlandish angle, with the nationalists depicted as unintelligent and tone-deaf.

However, the material is unfunny, the execution could be better, and it isn’t anything we haven’t seen before a million times over.

Operation: Nation also attempts to do too much, juggling comedy, romance, and multiple subplots. This resulted in uneven pacing and a lack of direction, which made me lose interest. This is not a recommended film. The jokes fall flat, the love story shared between the two main characters isn’t explored enough to grip the viewer, and the nationalist group storyline is cartoonish and unfunny. I recommend Jojo Rabbit.

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