As the Writers Guild Of America strike approaches, it seems appropriate to be viewing Volker Schlondorff's film "Strike." While the film contains compelling drama regarding a union, the film isn't without flaws.
The plot, which is based on true events, follows Agnieszka Kowalska- a single mother who works at a shipyard as a welder and eventually a crane operator. Kowalska is a respected woman at her place of employment, as her co-workers dub her "the heroine of labor".
One day, when a brutal accident occurs at the shipyard leaving 21 dead, matters become problematic. The shipyard head honchos refuse to compensate the families for the accident, which leads Agnieszka to take it upon herself (with the help of others) to organize a strike that turns out to be more beneficial than anyone could have imagined.
As I loathed Volker Schlondorff's "The Tin Drum" with a fiery passion, I was worried about watching "Strike." Luckily, "Strike" turns out to be a watchable albeit flawed film. The main problem with the script (written by Andreas Pfluger and Sylke Rene Meyer) is that the story gets too caught up in melodramatic romance/family drama, which stalls the film. Normally, I wouldn't have an issue with the romance and family drama as it provides characterization and much needed tension between the characters, but the writers rush through the various stages of Kowalska's life so quickly that the passage of time feels abrupt, forced, and choppy. It would have been smarter to focus on a certain time period of her life or at least expand the film's running time. The film could have easily gone on longer than 104 minutes.
Thankfully, the story comes to life when the script focuses on Kowalska's inspiring struggle to defy her superior bosses and fight not only for local workers, but workers everywhere. Whenever an average working class person triumphs over greedy big businesses, it makes for a rewarding cinematic experience (especially if it is a true story). Important larger than life stories such as this were made for the big or small screen as they prove to be a timeless and identifiable topic for every generation.
The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen picture quality is generally very clear aside from a handful of grainy scenes.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is a mess. The entire audio track constantly had echoed dialogue and felt overly dubbed, unnatural, and tacked on. In addition, the horrendous metal clanging music score is often overly loud and sounds too modern for a film set in the 1960's. A Dolby Digital Stereo track is also on the DVD.
The only extra is a trailer for "Strike." Better than nothing at all I suppose.
"Strike" is a decent enough film. If more time was spent on the script, "Strike" could have been a stronger film. Worth a rent.
Film and television enthusiast Nick Lyons recently had his first book published titled "Attack of the Sci-Fi Trivia." It is available on Amazon.com.