Tricks [Sztuczki]

"Extraordinary"

Tricks [Sztuczki] Review


Polish filmmaker Jakimowski taps into his own childhood for this engaging and warmly authentic slice of life drama. Blending comedy and a hint of magical realism, this beautiful little film really gets under the skin.

Stefek (Ul) is a cheeky young boy who has never known his father. He lives with his older sister Elka (Walendziak) and their mother (Fornalczyk), and hangs out with Elka's mechanic boyfriend Jerzy (Guzniczak). Stefek and Elka play games together tempting fate, trying to trick the gods into helping them just a little bit. And Stefek launches an all-out campaign when he spots his father (Sapryk) on a train platform, quietly setting up events that will get Dad back into the family. Meanwhile, Elka's trying to get a better job.

The film has a playful, meandering tone that obscures the carefully structured story. It feels utterly authentic, and the various elements come together so organically that we almost don't notice it happening right before our eyes. In other words, this is astonishingly adept filmmaking that's funny, scruffy and hugely involving. It's never remotely manipulative or manufactured, and yet filmmaker Jakimowski has us right where he wants us.

He also coaxes disarmingly natural performances from his cast members. Everyone feels like a real person, with traits that are subtle but extremely telling.

Ul, Walendziak and Guzniczak are especially good in the central roles, and we can't help but fall for all three of them, identifying with their quiet yearnings. Their interaction is sometimes very raw, but it also carries real compassion and affection. And it makes most other movies look completely artificial.

Packed with gorgeous poetic touches, the story gently explores the deep human desire to make life better against all odds. There's a lot of talk about luck--about making the most of what's dealt to us and then having the initiative to give things a little push now and then. The results are surprising in both small and large ways, and as the story comes together in the end, the film becomes powerfully gripping in ways we don't expect. This is skilful filmmaking that feels utterly effortless. And it carries a kick that's both heart-stopping and heart-warming.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Andrzej Jakimowski

Producer: Andrzej Jakimowski

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