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Prime Time Review: It Is A Polished Polish Hostage Thriller!

Prime Time, A Polished Polish Hostage Thriller

Prime Time(polish, Netflix)

Starring: Bartosz Bielenia, Magdalena Popławska, Andrzej Kłak, Małgorzata HajewskaKrzysztofik

Directed  by:  Jakub Piątek

Rating: ** ½

Prime Time(polish, Netflix): As  I watched the young androgynous-looking hero Sebastian(Bartosz Bielenia) hold up a television station on  new year’s eve I thought  of the channel’s TRPs  hitting  the  roof. Had Sebastian stormed  the tv station with that intent  and purpose? Was this hostage situation  created artificially to boost the  channel’s rating?

No such twist  happens  in  the tale. Sebastian is  serious  about holding up  the  channel’s star anchor, a tall edgy whiny woman Mira(Magdalena Poplawska) and  the  lanky security guard  Grzegorz (Andrzej Kłak) inside  the  studio set, as  the staff members  of the  news channels  look on with  horror and  curiosity.The  negotiators are  nonplussed. And ill-prepared. Somewhat  like the  film’s  script writer.

 I wish I could say  my involvement  was as intense as  that  of the  negotiators . Prime Time pulls  you  in  to Sebastian’s world  of  desperate  attention-seeking. Once we are in, neither Sebastian nor this film’s director seem  to know what to do with  our attention. I mean, what does Sebastian want? He  looks androgynous  and  perhaps he  needs a sex-change  operation?

Here  I am only guessing  . My assumption is  based  on Sidney Lumet’s tense  1975 thriller  Dog Day Afternoon in which Al Pacino holds up a bank to procure money  for his partner’s sex-change  operation. Sebastian never says  what he wants. Not even when the negotiators  call in his  father who comes across as an intimidating  bully who lets family secrets fly out.Maybe the channel should have recorded him for their  next reality show.

 So is Sebastian a victim of child abuse? What about his  two hostages? We  know the star-anchor  Mira is  a single mother because she keeps moaning about her child’s babysitter(not her  her child,  mind you). And the security guard , a figure that  exudes  much  suppressed angst,  is just too stoic  to be  of any use  to  the plot.

 I did like the class  tension between the star anchor and the security  guard. In one sequence she  asks him to “do something” when they are put in the car  that was the prize money for the game show Mira was to anchor before the  hold-up. And then she tells  the guard to move  away from her in the car as his  shoulder was  touching her.

The  narrative squeezes  you into  the plot. But does  little after that.  Interesting to begin with,   the  plot soon loses momentum. The fact that the hostage holder  Sebastian hardly looks dangerous  doesn’t help either.By the  time  the hostage-situation  plays itself  out, there is  nothing here  to keep our interest alive.

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