The Line (Peter Bebjak, 2017) Slovakia

The Line is a face-paced crime thriller laced with dark humor- you will find yourself constantly intrigued and entertained. It takes place in the lawless borderlands between Ukraine and Slovakia before Slovakia joined the EU in 2007. The plot intertwines many characters and becomes more and more complex as the film progresses. Directed by Peter Bebjak, beautiful rare locations are dramatically shot, scenes are aesthetically lit to accentuate the emotion. A clever, twisted screenplay by Peter Balko; A compelling, dynamic soundtrack by Slavomir Solovic; and impressive acting from the entire cast make The Line the compelling film it is.

The film follows Adam Krajňák (Tomáš Maštalír) the father of a family and head of a criminal group that smuggles cigarettes from Ukraine to Slovakia. The two peacefully co-existing countries is disturbed when a new border is secured; causing angst and nervousness in the surrounding areas about how unclear the future of the countries is. The title refers not only to the border between the countries but also the moral line that Krajňák is forced to reconsider and has always refused to challenge in the past. He struggles to balance his family with his business and strutgles to determine what is right and wrong. This criminal thriller reveals a universal human story set in environment in which cultures, traditions and lives intertwine.

Peter Bejbak masterfully directed The Line by showing in-depth character development, and skillful building of suspense. The cast manages to make even the small parts more than just background acting to fill space. Bejbak’s talent is showcased in his ability to insert notes of surrealism and dark comedy into the plot line without changing the overall vibe of the film. Film editor Marek Královský’s face-paced cutting expertly juggles multiple storylines in a way that is easy for the audience to follow. Composer Slavo Solovic’s powerful, Ukranian score both accentuates and reflects on the scene.

If you like dramatic crime thriller movies, and are okay with subtitles this film is worth your time and you will find yourself feeling connected to the characters. The way the characters intricately intertwine will keep you interested and on your toes with the constant change in events.

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