CERT: 18 | DIRECTOR: PATRYK VEGA | SCREENPLAY: PATRYK VEGA | STARRING: OLGA BOLADZ, KASIA WARNKE, SEBASTIAN FABIJANSKI, AGNIESZKA DYGANT | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
A former police officer who thinks out of the box is hired to go undercover in the Mafia to catch the most wanted criminals in Patryk Vega’s blood-soaked and hard-hitting crime thriller, Women of Mafia.
After his previous film Botoxx, Vega is back with his no-nonsense and blunt filmmaking style in his latest film that, one can presume, to a degree accurately depicts some of the heinous things that mobsters get up to including hardcore drug use, murder and graphic sex. In this story, his female characters – which include a host of returning actresses that he’s worked with before – take centre stage and feel a lot more empowered rather than being an afterthought.
At the forefront is Izabella (Olga Boladz), a former police officer who is let go after an operation to get over twenty wanted criminals in the same place at the same time goes awry. Shortly after she is hired by the ISA to go undercover in the mafia and must leave her husband and son behind – a great segment of character development which was lacking in Vega’s previous work. Quite possibly the most interesting character story ark is Dalia (Agnieszka Dygant) - a nanny for one of the mobsters who is presented with the chance to change her life forever. Along with these two main plotlines, there are also a few other narratives that overlap - but that is the biggest flaw with this film: as with Vega's other work, the story always feels very top-heavy.
There are a plethora of potentially interesting and solo narratives that, although they cross over with each other quite nicely, it gives the audience a bloated feeling and ultimately makes proceedings confusing and convoluted. For example, Dalia's storyline and her rise to power across the runtime could perfectly accommodate any 90-minute mob thriller bu itself, but put up against the undercover narrative of Izabella is a tad too much to focus upon - which leads to another major gripe: the runtime. The story beats and set pieces would have packed much more of a punch if approximately 30 minutes were shaved off of the 150 runtime - a lot of it is dowsed in uninteresting padding.
However, the direction of Women of Mafia must be commended - Vega's eye for brutal detail is clear for all to see when the action kicks off. As far as performances go, it's wonderful to see Bloadz and Dygant, who also starred in Botoxx, be at the forefront of the move and going toe-to-toe with their male counterparts. They steal each scene that they are in which, in this genre, is incredibly refreshing.
Women of Mafia is a ferocious gang thriller with terrific female leads but unfortunately suffers from a convoluted web of storylines and over-bearing runtime that brings the overall film down a few levels but sets up nicely for its sequel that should tie the loose knots together if approached in the right way.