THE MAN WITH THE MAGIC BOX *** Poland 2017 Dir: Bodo Kox. 103 mins
This Polish sci fi/drama has some cruel and humorous twists but deep down it is essentially a tender romance story. Adam (Piotr Polak) is a janitor stuck in his menial job at a corporate company in Warsaw in the year 2030. He goes about his business mostly unnoticed together with his agoraphobic and very odd colleague Bernie, yet Adam strikes up a relationship with one of the companies employees. Goria (Olga Boladz) is just looking for a bit of fun ( ” Kiss me like they do in the movies”) and due to the way their class system works she knows they will never be able to be together so she tries to remain unobtainable, “If I was unlucky enough to get pregnant by you… I would get rid of it” harsh words but no ones convinced she means it. Adam discovers an old radio from the 1950’s in his run down apartment and after tinkering around with it finds out it has some kind of time traveling capabilities. Only seeing flashes at first he finds himself trapped leaving Goria desperate to find out what has happened to him.
This is quite a simple plot on paper but on watching it gets a bit confusing and jumps around a lot. It does begin to make sense about half way through and luckily there a few funny intervals to hold your attention in the mean time. Adam himself is cute but a bit of a wet lettuce, Goria is the strong, confident character and Bernie is just hilarious. The more I watched the more I grew to love them. This is not a horror at all but it is cruel, mean spirited and dystopian which will appeal to some horror fans. The FX are very minimal and nothing spectacular. For an Artsploitation Films release its an interesting one that hopefully will appeal to a wider audience it has some arty moments but they aren’t too heavy. It’s nicely shot, expertly acted with a great soundtrack. The only slight down sides for me are that you have to be some kind of speed reader to read through the subtitles in time and it does take a little while to get going. Some of its reviews haven’t been that positive but I found it rather sweet, entertaining and enjoyable.
Review by Sarah Budd