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Debt Collector / Komornik
Andrzej Chyra, Kinga Preis, Krystof Dracz
Directed by Feliks Falk
Polish with English subtitles
Poland 2005
Facets Video 2006
100 minutes

Debt Collector / Komornik is a very unusual movie that takes a while to get the viewer into its world. This may in part be because it is in the original Polish with English subtitles and in part because the world of debt collectors is not one many are familiar with, especially not as it is in Poland. I sometimes felt like an alien watching a western without any clue as to who the guys in white hats and black hats are and what it means when a character is unshaven or spits tobacco juice. Once you accept to simply go along for the ride Debt Collector / Komornik is an interesting, well-made, and unusual drama with sometimes weird subtitles.

Andrzej Chyra plays Lucek Bohme a by the book debt collector and a very cold man. He has no problems seizing the local hospital's only equipment for unpaid bills. He is a very methodical, maniacally to the letter kind of guy who says he abhors an unclosed file no matter how small or how important it may be. The question is what makes this guy tick. Especially after you learn he grew up in a home that was regularly visited by debt collectors. What is certain is this man believes in his work or is it cause?

Everything seems to be going fine for Lucek Bohme until one day when while trying to seize a sick young girl's accordion he realizes she is the daughter of his first girlfriend. That same day one of his clients hangs himself in his offices. These events get to him and Bohme then tries to make restitution for the harm he has legally caused. To do this, Bohme uses the money he took, or wanted a man to believe he took, as a bribe; money the man wanted Bohme to think was a bribe. Restitution turns out to be very difficult indeed as most are weary of his motives and he gets his car stolen. Then, it gets even weirder when the people he made restitution to deny his ever having done so.

I am certain there is a subtext to Debt Collector / Komornik, probably a religious one, but I am also certain I missed it.