Film Review: “Colors of Evil” Red”


  • Starring: Jakub Gierszal, Maja Ostaszewska
  • Directed by: Adrian Panek
  • Rating: Unrated
  • Running Time: 1 hr 51 mins
  • Netflix


“Colors of Evil: Red”, now streaming on Netflix, is an intriguing Polish crime drama based upon the first book in a trilogy written by Polish novelist Małgorzata Oliwia Sobczak. (The second book is “Black” and the third is “White”.) Relying more on drama than action, “Colors of Evil” is an intelligent piece of writing. It’s a dark, unsettling tale of femicide set in a seedy, Polish underworld where illegal drugs, alcohol, and human sex trafficking run rampant. Solid performances with some twists and turns in the plot make it a watchable film.


The story’s crux begins when the nude body of a female bartender is discovered on a lonely stretch of beach bordering the Baltic Sea in Poland’s TriCity area, which is composed of the coastal cities of Gdansk, Gdynia, and Sopot. A haunting mutilation of the corpse is reminiscent of a similar murder from several years earlier. Local prosecutor Leopold Bilski (Jakub Gierszal, “Dracula Untold”) is the only one who seems to care about getting to bottom of the case, that is until the dead bartender’s mother, Judge Helena Bogucka (Maja Ostaszewska) inserts herself into the investigation at great peril to her life.


The dogged Leopold begins connecting dots that lead him to the seedy seaside club where the judge’s daughter worked. He uncovers how at least one other girl from the club ended up dead in a similar manner and that it is operated by a sadist crime boss. No one is safe as the investigation reaches its climax, but Leopold proves himself to be in the same vein as Inspector Morse and other great fictional detectives.


Director Adrian Paneka (2018’s “Werewolf”) effort, while entertaining, can be a smidge predictable at times and a little too formulaic. Stylistically, “Colors of Evil” has a subdued texture with flashes of darkness horrible enough to dispel any doldrums at least temporarily. Gierszal is a fine lead who should only grow further in the role if the rest of the trilogy is indeed produced.


Overall, “Colors of Evil: Red,” presuming you don’t mind subtitles or English dubbing, is a good detective story but not quite great.


“Colors of Evil: Red” receives ★★1/2 out of five.

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