Guest Author - Barbara Swiech
This movie is one of the strongest psychological depicts of today’s reality. Regardless the effects, and great play of Polish actors of young generation, one cannot forget the it was based on a true story. And although many Poles would still say that histories like that one do not happen in their country, this one did.
‘The Debt’ tells a story of two young men who were eager to be successful in their professional life. Adam and Stefan dreamt of opening their own company. They had everything that one needs to have to start their business – great idea and will to work – except for funds. They applied for a loan but the bank decided not to grant it. And then the third man appears – Gerard, who used to be a neighbor of one of the men. He is a businessman who offers them a loan. The conditions, under which the money is to be borrowed, are unrealistic and Adam with Stefan decide not to take the offer.
Suddenly Gerard starts intruding them, demanding at the same time that they give back the money they have never borrowed. Although he knows that Adam and Stefan will not be able to gather the amount he demands from them, he does not stop stalking and tormenting his two victims.
Adam and Stefan are tired with constant beating-ups, debts that they got into when borrowing money to pay tribute to Gerard and depression caused by this ongoing situation. It all leads them to murder as they decide to kill their tormenters.
The film, by Krzysztof Krauze, was made in 1999 – only 5 years after the real events took place. Most of the Poles, however, got to know the story of the two by associating them with prototypes of Krauze’s movie. In 1994 Artur and Slawomir, as their real names are, killed 2 people that tormented them psychically. Three years later they were sentenced for the double-murder.
After spending approximately 10 years in prison, they both received permission for a break in imprisonment. Shortly after that they received pardon from the president of Poland.
I am not sure how much Krauze’s film reminds the real story of Artur and Slawomir, that were prototypes for the main characters. The movie, however, brings real thrills and anxiety. It takes the audience into the world of fear and uncertainty about tomorrow. I think that most of the people who watched ‘The Debt’ started wondering what they would do, if they felt that their and their relations’ life is endangered. I think many of us would hate to be made to imagine that situation at all. The film successfully makes us realize that in fear even humans become acting like animals, defending its life and territory.