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||IMDB Rating: 7.7/10 from 12 votes
||Release: 26 September 1982 (USA) /
||Stars: Catherine Harding, Claire Toeman, David Calder, David Squire, Denis Holmes, Edward Arthur, Eugene Lipinski, Eugeniusz Haczkiewicz, Jeremy Irons, Jill Johnson, Jirí Stanislav, Judy Gridley, Lucy Hornak, Michael Sarne, Renu Setna
||Synopsis: A Polish contractor, Nowak, leads a group of workmen to London so they can provide cheap labor for a government official based there. Nowak (Irons) has to manage the project and the men as they encounter the tempations of the West and loneliness and separation from their families. Nowak is the only one of the group who speaks English, and he uses this as a tool over his team. When the unrest in Poland leads to a military takeover, Nowak is faced with a much more difficult situation than he expected. Written by Dan Hartung [email protected]
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Jerzy Skolimowski's "Moonlighting" is an outstanding achievement in many
respects. Not only does it contain one of the most fulfilling performances
that has ever been put to the screen, but it also serves as a political
allegory, a smartly-told drama, and a unique exercise in creating
On the surface, the story is rather simple: sometime in the early 80's,
during the political turmoil that was occurring in Poland, a group of
workers emigrate to London to renovate an apartment for their boss. They
have no working permits, so they have to do their job with as much secrecy
as possible. When Novak (Jeremy Irons), their English-speaking foreman,
discovers that military law has been declared in their homeland, he tries
keep it a secret until they are allowed back into the country.
This may not seem like much of a story compared to most modern thrillers.
There are no police out to get Novak and his men, nor are there any
political opponents out to assassinate them. They are simply there to do
their job, and Novak has to make sure they do it effectively and on time.
Small but crucial subplots develop out of this: in order to feed himself
his men, Novak has to fake receipts for food (due to the limited amount of
money they brought with them), and there are several scenes where he tries
to get past the clerks at a grocery store with a Christmas turkey. He also
has to buy them clothes and fulfill some of their material demands. On top
of that, he also begins to develop fears and worries about his wife back
home, including the suspicion that his boss may be having an affair with
her. As the story progresses, Novak's money runs lower and his fear and
paranoia grows stronger.
Because he is the only one of them who can speak English, Novak is the only
one who can communicate with the outside world. But he is also very
manipulative, and serves as a symbol of a government that misled their
people and kept them ignorant of many of their own problems. It is
interesting to see how Skolimowski develops sympathy for poor Novak; for
his intelligence, he is still nothing more than a pawn in the hands of a
corrupt government. He is a stranger in a strange land, lost and faking his
knowledge of his whereabouts. It would have been difficult to make this
convincing had the lead role not been played to perfection, but Jeremy
does it with more grace and skill than any other actor possibly could. Much
of his performance is spent in narration, subtly explaining his growing
confusion and terror. There are several moments where he keeps a perfectly
straight face while rambling on in his head about the grave situation he is
in. His performance here holds its own in a year that also included Dustin
Hoffman in "Tootsie," Ben Kingsly in "Gandhi," Gerard Depardieu in
Paul Newman in "The Verdict," Jurgen Prochnow in "Das Boot," and Jack
Like Andrej Wajda (who made "Man of Marble" and "Danton"), Jerzy
was an outspoken critic of Poland's communist regime. Curiously, he wrote
the script in only a little over a day, and the whole production of the
took only a matter of months. Furthermore, the three Polish workers
accompanying Novak in the story were actual Polish emigrants living
(legally) in Skolimowski's home at the time military law was declared.
"Moonlighting" won a well deserved screenplay award at Cannes and was
nominated for the Palme d'Or.
This film is on video, but I do not think it is still being circulated. I
hope they re-release it on video or DVD someday.
Tags for Moonlighting Full Movie
, Claire Toeman
, David Calder
, David Squire
, Denis Holmes
, Edward Arthur
, Eugene Lipinski
, Eugeniusz Haczkiewicz
, Jeremy Irons
, Jill Johnson
, Jirí Stanislav
, Judy Gridley
, Lucy Hornak
, Michael Sarne
, Renu Setna
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