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Moonlighting Reviews

One month after martial law was declared in Poland in the wake of the Solidarity uprising, Jerzy Skolimowski began work on this political allegory about a group of four Polish workers in London. Led by the only English speaker among them, their foreman, Nowak (Jeremy Irons), the group arrives to renovate a flat for their Polish boss. Working illegally at what by English standards are cut rates, they must live on the site under uncomfortable living arrangements. When Soviet troops roll into Warsaw, Nowak learns of the events, but, driven by private anxieties and determined to avoid dissent, schemes to conceal the news from his men. As budgetary and scheduling pressures mount, he must take increasingly drastic and draconian measures to do so. MOONLIGHTING contains no manifestos or crude symbols. Its politics are almost entirely limned in the actions and thoughts of Nowak, who is beautifully portrayed by Irons in the performance that made him one of the most respected actors of the decade. The better-educated and more highly paid Nowak is sympathetically characterized even as he mirrors the actions of the Polish authorities, cutting off his men's access to information and family ties, the workers' hierarchy (including the bosses back home) serving as a microcosm of Polish society. Director-cowriter Skolimowski never fails to truly dramatize his themes, however--creating that rarity, a "political film" that is also deeply personal, true to life, and morally and emotionally complex.