This Polish thriller, which is based on the true events of the 1950s, sees Lieutenant Karski (played by Tomasz Schuchardt) trying to solve the disappearances of 67 people in Kraków, Poland. It starts with a bang – quite literally and from then on, you’re enticed. Throughout the film there are WTF moments you just don’t see coming.
Directors Magdalena Kronenberg-Seweryn and Krzysztof Lang introduce us to the mystery behind the murderer that is Władysław Mazurkiewicz (played by Andrzej Chyra). His cunning methods and the brutality of his kills are hard to watch, and the thoughts you have when you watch are why would someone do something like this? How can one man kill someone the way he does? It’s pure evil.
The film isn’t as distressing as most thrillers would be but it’s still gripping and savage nonetheless. Lieutenant Karski is a clever man and determined to find out the truth. You can see his passion for the case and for the need for justice. When no one suspects Mazurkiewicz, he’s the only one to draw on the conclusion that he’s the killer that everyone is looking for. Even after getting ridiculed, he’s finally allowed to pursue Mazurkiewicz as a suspect and tails him immediately. This is the start of a dangerous path for Karski and his fellow colleagues at the police. Suspicions lie everywhere and towards the end, who can you trust?
Pajek (played by Arkadiusz Jakubik), is Karski’s partner in crime. Although tough looking, he doesn’t pack as much of the punch compared to Karski. You can tell his heart’s not in it as much as the younger Lieutenant. All Pajek is good for is drinking his nerves away and being the sidekick. If this were a Batman film, Pajek is most definitely Robin.
There are moments of realisation that make you want to shout at the screen in front of you. It’s a shame about the subtitles as it distracts you from what’s going on. Usually it wouldn’t bother me as much, but for a thriller like this, it gets in the way and I just wish it wasn’t needed.
The Lullaby Killer is intense and heart-breaking, with scenes that fill you with such raw emotion. Yet, most of the time you just see the men chain-smoking cigarettes, downing a bottle of what looks like vodka and discussing murder cases around a big wooden table. What’s more cliché than that? Usually when it comes to a thriller, the murderer is unknown to us all so it’s interesting to be watching it from the perspective of the murderer himself. We know everything, but the police don’t – It’s powerful and exciting.