The Decalogue: Nine (1990, Krzysztof Kieslowski)

With Nine, writers Krzysztof Piesiewicz and Krzysztof Kieslowski have finally figured out how to parody themselves and the rest of The Decalogue. This entry, overwrought from the opening titles, is awful, but Piesiewicz and Kieslowski never quite commit to the more melodramatic, soap opera plotting they could. And Nine suffers for it.

Piotr Machalica is a successful surgeon who finds out he’s impotent. He dreads telling his wife (played by Ewa Blaszczyk in one of the more thankless roles in film history) because she obviously won’t love him anymore. Kieslowski’s direction hammers in all the symbolism–it becomes absurdist by the end (Nine actually plays far better as a comedy)–but he’s never able to establish any chemistry whatsoever between Machalica and Blaszczyk.

And why would there be any? She’s an awful, heartless woman; he’s a martyr for manhood.

Nine’s really lame. I’m actually surprised how bad it gets.

1/3Not Recommended


Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski; written by Krzysztof Piesiewicz and Kieslowski; director of photography, Piotr Sobocinski; edited by Ewa Smal; music by Zbigniew Preisner; production designer, Halina Dobrowolska; produced by Ryszard Chutkowski; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Piotr Machalica (Roman), Ewa Blaszczyk (Hanka), Jolanta Pietek-GΓ³recka (Ola) and Jan Jankowski (Mariusz).

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