Nowak, a polish immigrant, leads a group of four immigrant workers into London in an effort to find work. Lured by the notion of earning a month's wages in a mere week, the men hope to bring their earnings back to their families in Poland. While away, Poland falls into political turmoil with the military imposing martial law and outlawing the unions. Stranded in a foreign country, Nowak conceals the truth about the current state of Poland from the other workers in an effort to keep them focused. With the pressure mounting, Nowak must find a way to complete the job and help his men get back to their loved ones before it's too late. Jerzy Skolimowski's Moonlighting is a gripping character drama that is part political allegory, part textbook example of how to effectively create suspense. This is a film centered around the main protagonist and thankfully and unsurprisingly Jeremy Irons doesn't disappoint. As great as Irons is in many films I can say unequivocally that this is his greatest performance. This is a man that slowly and systematically begins to suffer and breakdown from the increasingly bleak circumstances of the world around him. Irons captures this character with resolve, demonstrating the fragility of a strong-willed man being pushed to the edge by things completely out of his control. Nowak knows the perilous situation these men have found themselves in but he must keep it all to himself, like a weight slowly pushing him beneath the surface. He believes he knows what is best for his men but in actuality his best efforts to "protect them" only further exacerbate the situation (hence the political allegory). Skolimowski's direction is stylish and impressive, per usual, but his ability to create an escalating suspense throughout the narrative is truly something special.
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