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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 9.09%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 4.55%
Total Crap: 4.55%

1 review, 16 user ratings

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Day of the Wacko
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by Chris Parry

"It's the little things in life that'll drive you nuts."
5 stars

Have you ever sat in a theater to watch a film and found yourself assaulted from all sides by people who make little sounds that collectively create an unbearable din? You know, the guy with the cellphone, the other guy who eats popcorn by the first, the talkers in the back row, the fat guy who wheezes when he breathes, the old girl who falls asleep and snores, the kid who cracks his knuckles, the doofus who sucks his soda out of a can with a straw (right down to the last few drops)... these people need shooting. Marek Koterski shares my disdain for such nuisances, and his lead character in The Day of the Wacko is the cinematic incarnation of every moment of frustration these people have brought me.

Adas (Marek Kondrat) is a rapidly aging, divorced teacher who could best be described as obsessive-compulsive to the extreme. His day starts with seven gulps of water, pee for 14 seconds, and a pre-coffee ritual that involves straightening the couch, pulling his boxers tight, straightening the crease in his jeans and then placing his left foot, then right, on a footstool - in order. To this man, order is everything, even to the point where when he spills a packet of Corn Flakes across the floor, he picks up each individual piece, blows the dirt off it, and puts it back in the box.

So when his downstairs neighbor blasts him with classical music, his upstairs neighbor responds with loud karate moves and the maintenance man uses an grating lawn-edger to mow the entire lawn, the annoyances of the outside world intrude upon his Adas' one-bedroomed utopia and send him close to breaking point.

And it's hilarious.

Marek Kondrat is hysterical from the first few frames of this dark comedy. His character is at once mean-spirited and sympathetic, hilarious and dramatic, a total fool and a smart-thinking observer of the ridiculousness of the world around him. Director Marek Koterski adds to the insanity by bringing ina a surreal element to Adas' world, demonstrated with great hilarity when his lead flicks through the channels on his TV. Alongside mind-numbing commercials for a penis-extract cologne and a fart-nullifying body spray Adas finds sanctity in a soccer game. That is until a goal is scored and the goalscorer is kissed by one of his teammates, as another starts licking his neck... then another drops his trousers, slides in behind the scorer and gives new meaning to the position of 'stopper'.

Using extensive internal monologue instead of external dialogue, a tactic normally despised by cinema purists, Koterski can be forgiven in this case because the main character is such a loner that he seldom talks to anyone - and even if he did, his opinion is the only one that matters. Added to that, the monologues are bitingly funny, so to hell with the rules.

If The Day of the Wacko were played out as a drama, it'd be depressing and morbid, but no less intriguing. That Koterski manages to make a story so negative outright hilarious is a testimony to the talent he has both with the pen, and behind the camera. Not for many years have we seen a film so heartfelt, political, dramatic and gutbustingly funny. the Poles have a real knack for dark humor, but it takes a writer/director of exceptional talent to tie that into a film of meaning.

That in itself would be enough to recommend the film, but the performance of Marek Kondrat in the lead role is brave, polished and perfect. This entire film hinges as much on his talent as on the director's flair, and both parties prove themselves to be consummate professionals as well as artists. A wrong step anywhere along the course of this film by either of the two could have seen the entire affair go an entire different way, but there isn't a bad note hit in the entire 95 minutes.

A stunning surprise and certainly among the best films of the Vancouver Festival to date, The Day of the Wacko is a film that deserves a wide release stateside. Whether it gets one, of course, is up to those with traditionally far less taste than this very happy, constantly laughing audience.

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originally posted: 10/02/03 19:48:32
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Vancouver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/15/15 filmiw23 not interesting 1 stars
6/17/12 ok It's not one of the best Polish movies -- it's one of the best movies ever. Stunning&True 5 stars
2/25/11 Martsi the best Polish film for me. I have seen it many times and everytime I was loughing. I 5 stars
6/19/10 Heather interesting 2 stars
7/10/09 moonhike dialogues and monologues are insanely funny yet so true 5 stars
9/14/07 Derek K. Really Good. Some Hillarious Moments. Great! 5 stars
5/23/07 Paul C. One of the best Polish movies ever. Classic 5 stars
9/09/06 maxgold overlooked gem; acting brilliant enough to make you as deranged as the tortured protagonist 5 stars
2/20/05 Robin Gill Makes even more sense if you live here 5 stars
4/06/04 Thomas Jankowski of excellent film, fully agree with this reviewer 4 stars
3/16/04 kamill perfect, just perfect... 5 stars
1/22/04 Morgan Jones His outbursts put Wesley Willis to shame. 5 stars
10/27/03 Peter Azen really good polish comedy 4 stars
10/26/03 Chris Absolutely brilliant! As Good As It Gets meets Trainspotting 5 stars
10/09/03 Jacek Lojko Fantastic, spoko, and revolucia 5 stars
10/03/03 your worst goddamn nightmare this movie is sooo funny and satirical yet somewhat dark. it's just a fantastic film. 5 stars
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  N/A (NR)
  DVD: 25-Nov-2003



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