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To Kill a Priest

Solidarity seen through a Cold War lens, i.e. plucky nationalist Catholics vs the club-wielding forces of darkness. The Solidarnosc we get here is against Communism (or, as translated here, Socialism), for religion, and barely aware of trade unionism. Instead, Father Alek (Lambert), a fictionalised version of the cleric Jerzy Popieluszko, enjoys a frustrated flirtation with Whalley while making the odd speech about the aspirations of the Poles. Alek then runs into a whole heap of trouble with gritty local Militia chief Harris, who bludgeons the priest and dumps him in the river before being dumped on himself by his superiors. The script (an international co-production number) sounds like a Lada service manual; Poland looks like the North Peckham Estate; The Zomo (secret police) behave like Keystone Cops; and the attempts to turn Father Al symbolically into JC himself offended even this card-carrying atheist.

Release details

Duration: 117 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Agnieszka Holland
Screenwriter: Agnieszka Holland, Jean-Yves Pitoun
Cast: Christopher Lambert
Ed Harris
Joss Ackland
Tim Roth
Timothy Spall
Peter Postlethwaite
Cherie Lunghi
Joanne Whalley
David Suchet
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