Late Fantasia Film Review: Spoor

Fantasia may be over for 2017, but I had the chance to watch Spoor recently.

Spoor_Robert_PalkaStudio_FIlmowe_Tor

Spoor was directed by Agnieszka Holland and Kasia Adamik and written by Agnieszka Holland and Olga Tokarczuk. This Polish, German and Czech film takes on nature, hunting, humanity and life in the golden years.

It’s not a horror film. It walks a line between life in the country, small town thriller, mystery, revenge film and ecological message. Duszejko (Agnieszka Mandat) is the main lead, and the actual story of the film. She’s retired but she teaches English part-time at the local school. She’s a full fledged character, a senior woman that works, lives her life, falls in love, makes some friends and a lot of enemies. She’s the kind of person that feels empathy for the animals in a town where hunting is not only a sport, it’s encouraged and sanctioned by the church. She seems to be alone in that regard.

But soon enough, strange deaths start to happen, deaths that have one thing in common: all victims were all hunters. There seems to be a serial killer in town. The movie never quite acquires the murder-mystery feel to it, and there’s a reason for that.

Duszejko keeps pointing at the strange details surrounding each murder. Animal tracks. Deers that don’t shy away from humans. Nobody seems to be paying attention. This is one of those movies where something is being shown to you from one point of view but not everything. We also get flashbacks of all characters introduced, which I’m still on the fence of whether that added to the film in any way.

It’s a bit of an acquired taste. Agnieszka Mandat steals the film as the determined, idealistic and non-conformist Duszejko. For her role alone, the movie is worth watching. There’s a moral tale somewhere here, but at the same time it does get a bit diluted by the time the big reveal is evident.

Recommended with reservations. You’d better off watching this film without any preconceived notions. Even so, it’s a little hard to sell this movie to one type of audience. There’s a twist, not too surprising, by the end that will shift the tone for some viewers. I fear that because of the way it’s first envisioned, it might miss the audience that will truly appreciate it. That being said, audiences overlap. I know I still loved the movie once I realized where it was going to end up. That might not be the case for everyone.

That will do for now.

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