Title debut Piotr Śmigasiewicz’s film seems to be adequate to the general impression that the viewer stays with after the screening. From the producers, we get the promise of a thoroughbred thriller about the secrets of Caravaggio and the smuggling of works of art, and meanwhile you can feel framed in a shallow, crumbling plot and completely uninvolved cinema. A criminal story with Tuscany in the background was supposed to taste like a sophisticated Italian specialty, and we had to treat ourselves to overcooked and salted pasta. Even Piotr Adamczyk, who speaks fluent Italian and English, was unable to save this international flop.
The mysterious story of Caravaggio, a gang of art smugglers, the murder of an Italian priest and the Tuscan town where the film is set. In addition, a foreign cast and Piotr Adamczyk, who has recently found himself very well at international projects. At first glance, “Wrobiony” had enormous potential for a suspenseful thriller. However, the very process of making the film seemed to be at least puzzling, because the first shots were made seven years ago, and the producers were quite devotedly trying to bring the project to an end all the time. With a bad effect, because both the plot and the directing look as if someone would abandon the original idea every now and then, and then come back to it, completely forgetting where the pause took place.
Nice bad beginnings
The story told at the beginning of his film by Piotr Śmigasiewicz is even quite intriguing. Dominik (Piotr Adamczyk) is a PhD student at the University of Wrocław researching the life and work of the Italian master brush, Caravaggio. The man has been trying to obtain permission for a business trip to a Tuscan town for a long time Porto Ercole. It was there that the famous painter was buried. The circumstances in which the scientist finally arrives in Italy are disturbing to say the least. In Porto Ercole, someone recently poisoned a priest who specializes in Caravaggio. There is a theft in a nearby church, the trace of a local artist is broken, and the hotel where Dominik was supposed to check in knows nothing about his reservation.
PhD student with a new local priest, Paolo (Luca Calvani), he launches a private investigation into the recent events in Porto Ercole, which will lead both men to a gang of illegal art dealers. The moment when the plot should jump on the right track and significantly accelerate, turns out to be disastrous for the entire production. Instead of a neatly accelerating story, we get a cluster of random scenes and more and more absurd plot twists: from the poorly shown romantic relationship between Dominik and Sylvia (Alessandra Mastronardi) after popping out like the devil out of the box … an FBI agent. There are more and more plots and characters, but paradoxically, the pace of the story slows down, and the original plot ceases to interest you at some point.
The debutant did not cope with the task, although it was not easy anyway
In “Wrobiony” there are many references to art and conversations about art, but the real “art” is the ability to discourage the viewer with the plot before the end of the film. Unfortunately, we are dealing with such a strategy in the debut of Piotr Śmigasiewicz. Somewhere in these charming (after all) Tuscan frames, not only the convention of the film is completely lost, but also the sense of the on-screen events. For example, you can watch a well-read and experienced scientist who cannot find accommodation in an Italian, typical tourist destination, with amazement. In disbelief, we even observe the car chase scene straight from the films with Louis de Funes. The real disappointment comes with the banal and completely devoid of suspense finale, which does not in the least compensate for bad scenario choices.
Piotr Śmigasiewicz, who cannot be denied ambition and good intentions, is responsible for these, as well as for chaotic directing, but the film production, which was stretched out for several years and constantly interrupted, was definitely to the detriment of the debutant. There was a lack of continuity, consistency and appropriate dynamics – not only in Śmigasiewicz’s directing workshop, but above all in the plot. Scenes that had potential look underdeveloped. Those that add nothing to the story, on the other hand, are stretched to the limit. Not only the right one was missing balance when weighing screen emotions, but also the ability to build tension. A cheap trick is to create suspense with just music. Nice by the way, but definitely too often used in scenes that are in fact completely devoid of emotional charge and content.
Instead of the original, a poor copy
Sometimes the script’s shortcomings and the director’s shortcomings can still be saved with the help of actors, but in “Wrobiony”, none of the cast members lends a helping hand to the filmmakers. In a way, this is due to a really poorly written characterization of the character, and also probably due to insufficient involvement of the main role actors. Considering the recent casting elections by Piotr Adamczyk, one can be surprised at his participation in this type of production. On this occasion I would like to emphasize once again that the work on “Wrobiony” started a good few years ago. I dare to doubt that Adamczyk is now risking his involvement in such an underdeveloped project. It is also a pity for the foreign cast, because the characters played by Torsten Voges (“Big Lebowski) or Gideon Burkhard (” Inglorious Basterds “) are almost caricatured, and both men cannot be denied their talent.
It was supposed to be intriguing, world-wide and on a grand scale, and in fact – as a football fan of the Polish national team would say – it turned out as always. Writing about the wasted potential would sound like a truism and a convenient excuse, so I won’t use this narrative because many more sins were committed in the production of “Wrobowane” than the failure to sell an interesting starting idea to the public. Here, virtually every element of the film’s craft has not functioned properly. So it is difficult to even get an average final score. There is a scene in the film in which an art professor explains to his students that the difference between an original painting and a counterfeit is in the details. In the case of “Wrobione” you don’t even have to go into detail to sense that we are dealing with an inept copy of genre cinema.