Volhynia - Review (E.I.F.F)

Volhynia is a Polish period drama which stars Michalina Łabacz and
Vasyl Vasylyk. This film is directed by Wojciech Smarzowski.

Volhynia is not an easy film to review, just like it is not an easy film to watch. This film has been marketed to the UK as a war film with most of the screenshots used to advertise the film were shots from battle scenes, however I can tell you that Volhynia is not a war film, but it is certainly just as brutal as one. The film takes place during second world war in the village of Volhynia, which was a settlement by Ukrainians, Poles and Jews. Once the war breaks out the village is torn apart by violence among it's villagers as each form their own alliance and hatred towards each other.

The first two acts of the film are used to set up the rising tension between the nations and despite the film being two and a half hours long, this time is used rather well to create an understanding of multiple characters perspectives, which pay off later in the film, while it works for the end of the film the shift between character perspectives is jarring to say the least as it's difficult to understand who's story we are following and why. The editing for the majority of this film is made up of quick cuts which at first are bothersome, but once the film delved deeper into the story I felt that the off nature use of them was an intentional devise to make the events seem confusing and overbearing the perspective of the characters. The film does not shy away from the bloodshed of the savage battles, so a fair bit of warning if people are squeamish or consider yourself faint-hearted. This film puts you at the very center of the brutality in these historic events.

My only issue with this film is that the second act does feel slow and confusing as the story flips from different character perspectives which threw me off for a few minutes. Overall the film is a fascinating account of  history which I never knew about, the direction and cinematography work well as an emotional storytelling devise, the acting is of a high quality and the story while confusing at times will stay with you for a while.

Rating: 7/10