For Reel

The Christening (2010)
March 30, 2012, 3:35 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Marcin Wrona

Like Gavin O’Connor’s Warrior, The Christening is a brute of a tear-jerker. Early on, the two friends mutually engage in a Haka war dance, a definitive display of their supreme masculinity, as if revving their engines before succumbing to heart-felt conversations about love, family, and friendship. The set-up is recognizable – two friends, who once were employed by a crime lord – are reunited. One, Janek, has just returned from the army, and the other, Michal, has settled down with a family. It is revealed that Michal has a perpetual debt owed to their former boss, and as his resources begin to run out, he fears that his wife will be left a widow. The way that these characters transform – Michal becomes more unpleasant as he suffers under the weight of his anxiety, and Janek begins to show greater emotional complexities after having learned of the severity of the situation – is what makes the picture work, despite its nagging penchant for dwelling in its overblown theatrics. Director Marcin Wrona gets carried away with the sex and violence (frankly, everything involving the mob is overstated to the point of parody), but he knows how to build to a moment and, in the end, its hard to resist The Christening‘s inevitable, but nonetheless affecting conclusion.