Mother’s Day, or Dzien Matki, is a Polish action thriller film on Netflix with a clear emphasis on who the characters would be and even a hint of the storyline in its very title. While it does deliver on that end, no drama or exploration of relationships is to be expected here, as it is an out-and-out action film. The plot follows an ex-NATO soldier, Nina, as she comes out of her secretive life when her son Maks is kidnapped, seemingly by the son of an old foe of hers. While the action scenes, and particularly the choreography used in them, and the camerawork in some instances are quite commendable, there is nothing else of worth in Mother’s Day, and it can be watched only as some entertaining pass time.
‘Mother’s Day’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
In some unnamed Polish city, a middle-aged woman stands in a queue at a local alcohol store, staring at the jacket of a young man in front of her, which bears some Polish nationalist idea. The woman, who is revealed to be named Nina, gets her turn, buys her beer cans disinterestedly, and leaves the store to walk home. However, a group of men, including the one who had been in front of Nina in the queue, are now harassing two women on the street, and Nina evidently has to interfere and stop the act. A fight breaks out soon, and although Nina is unable to completely beat through the entire gang of men, she walks away with some minor injuries and also having saved the women.
Despite it being Mother’s Day, which is celebrated on the radio programs, Nina spends her night drinking all by herself and then is seen working her usual job the next day as a crane operator at a car junkyard. After some time, it is revealed that Nina keeps a constant watch on her son Maks, who does not stay with the woman but instead with a different couple and calls them his parents. Before any of this is explained in more detail, though, the teenage son, Maks, is attacked by some thugs and kidnapped in a van. As Nina keeps a check on Maks’s social media profiles, she notices all the comments that reveal that the boy has been missing, and without any hesitation, Nina leaves her usual life in hiding to drive to Warsaw and help find her beloved son.
Why Do Nina And Maks Stay Separate?
The reason why Nina and Maks stay away from each other is revealed quite early on in Mother’s Day, with smaller details given gradually along the plot. Nina Nowak, who was a major in the army during NATO’s operations in Afghanistan, was declared dead after she returned to her homeland. The government had, in fact, even installed a grave in her memory at the graveyard in Warsaw, while in reality, Nina lived her life hidden away in a small Polish town. Despite being the biological mother of Maks, Nina had to give the boy away when he was very young, and she could not, therefore, take care of him like any other mother. Maks had been told that both his parents had died when he was a young boy, and so he had accepted his adoptive parents just like his own.
After Maks goes missing, Nina gets in touch with a police officer who was one of the very few people who knew that she was alive. This officer, named Igor, had also served in the army in Afghanistan, and his camaraderie with Nina was from that very time. With his help, Nina starts investigating the case and soon finds crucial evidence, which the officer sneaks out of the police station. Maks’s phone had been intentionally left behind by the kidnappers because they had left a voice message on it for the police to hear. As Nina listens to this message, she realizes that Maks has been kidnapped by a Serbian gangster named Dusan Dragan. Dusan’s father, Spiridon Dragan, had been killed by Nina, who was known as Kikimora, during her spy days. As Dusan knew Nina had died, he could not directly take revenge on the killer of his father, so he decided to punish Maks instead. In the voice note, Dusan claims that there was no way for the authorities to save Maks, as his intention was to simply kill Maks and exact revenge, not to extort anything out of the kidnapping.
Later on, when Nina successfully finds Maks and is able to move him to her hideout, it is revealed that Maks does not even recognize or know his biological mother. The boy must have seen very little of his mother during his very young days before he had been adopted. As Nina tells him who she really is, she also reveals that Maks’s biological father, i.e., her husband, had been killed by the government authorities. The authorities had also planned to kill Nina next, and for this reason, she had put Maks up for adoption, fled her normal life, and has been living in hiding ever since. The exact reason behind the government authorities’ decision to act in this manner is not revealed in the film, but it can be guessed that Nina and her husband had also worked as spies for their army and government. Because of this, their existence could have been a threat to the next government, and therefore there was an attempt to wipe them out. After the husband had been successfully killed, the authorities had either given up on their search for Nina, or the one responsible for killing her must have wrongly reported that Nina was dead. The reality of her still being alive and giving her all to protect her son from the Serbian gangster remains unknown to most.
What Is The Hierarchy Of The Criminal Underworld In The Film?
As Mother’s Day explains, there is an entire hierarchy in the works in the Polish underworld, and it is headed by a man named Voltmeter, or Volto, who is an unpredictable psychopathic killer and criminal. Volto had only recently killed his own father, who was also a very notorious gangster and had taken over the crime empire. The reason behind Volto’s patricide is not mentioned, but it is clear that he had grown a feeling of extreme vengeance and hatred against his father, which is very evident from the fact that Volto had beheaded the father’s body and still kept his head in a jar inside his office. The most possible reason that is hinted at is that Volto’s queer identity and lifestyle were opposed by his father, and for this, he killed the man. Under Volto are two other gangsters: Tytus, who oversees all crimes related to human trafficking, and Baton, who runs all crimes related to drugs.
The Polish police force is seen to have gathered extensive intel about this criminal underworld and has also found a link to a foreign country. A Russian diplomat, codenamed Beauty Queen, had been running a money laundering business, and Volto was a significant client of hers. Volto wanted to launder all the black money being generated from the criminal business, and for this, he would send the diplomat this money, who would then send it back to Poland after keeping 30% of the amount as her fee. She was then putting in this fee at local small-level banks and introducing it to the Russian economy, thus leaving no trace of it. At present, the Serbian gangster seeking his father’s death, Dusan Dragan, had paid Volto to get Maks kidnapped, and therefore the Polish criminal underworld was also heavily involved with this kidnapping.
With Igor’s help, Nina finds out that it was Baton who sent his men to attack and apprehend Maks, and the teenager had then been sent to Tytus’s compound, where he was being held. With her great skills at fighting and single-handedly taking down big gangs, Nina goes through both henchmen’s compounds and rescues her son. When Volto comes to her hideout with his own men, Nina fights against them too and brings Volto down, either killing or gravely injuring him. As the police realize that Volto is now down, they raid his lavish house and confiscate great amounts of cash that Volto had been hiding and laundering over the years.
Despite Nina’s best efforts to protect Maks, the teenager misunderstands her and goes away on his own, marking the only dramatic element in Mother’s Day. This also lasts only for a few minutes, though, as Maks is quickly kidnapped by the Russian diplomat’s son and taken to the woman who holds him captive. She then calls Nina and presents her demand—with all of Volto’s cash confiscated by the police, the diplomat’s own cash flow had stopped. She now wants Nina to steal all of Volto’s money from the police station and give it to her in exchange for Maks.
Who Actually Got Maks Kidnapped, And What Was Their Reason?
As Nina prepares to sneak into the police station and steal all of Volto’s cash since she is prepared to do absolutely anything to save her son, Mother’s Day throws in the biggest twist of its plot. Although Nina and even Volto believed that it was Dusan Dragan who had gotten Maks kidnapped, the reality was far from it. The real Dusan Dragan was actually dead, and there was no evidence of his existence at all. Instead, it was actually Nina’s trusted police officer friend, Igor, who had gotten her son kidnapped.
Together with a small group of other corrupt police officers, Igor hired Volto to attack and apprehend Maks because he had an eye on the extensive amounts of cash that Volto was known to keep in his house. Igor knew very well that once he could feed Nina the false information about Dusan kidnapping her son with the help of Volto, she would take action in her own hands and essentially do what the police force had been planning to do. The voice message that he shows Nina was actually just a fake voice note made by one of his corrupt associates. As expected, Nina had fought through the entire underworld and even got rid of Volto. This allowed Igor and his team of corrupt officials to swoop in and confiscate large amounts of cash. But in reality, this was no confiscation but rather a theft, as Igor planned to run away with this money after giving some parts of it to his team members.
The reason why Igor had made such an extensive plan to get hold of the money was also, incidentally, the urge to be a good father. In his personal life, Igor had gone through a very messy divorce, and the custody of his daughter Zosia was with the mother. Although they had an arrangement for Zosia to often visit her father, this was not being fulfilled by the mother because Igor was not paying his alimony regularly. The man was in heavy financial distress, and he needed more money to essentially see his daughter. The one meeting between Igor and Zosia that we are shown is also indicative of this since the teenage girl hardly has any attachment to her father, possibly because he is unable to pay for any good gifts or lifestyle. Therefore, Igor decides to get Maks kidnapped, lie to Nina, get her to fight and bring down Volto, and then steal the criminal’s money.
‘Mother’s Day’ Ending Explained: What Finally Happened To Igor, Maks And Nina?
When Nina goes to steal the confiscated money, she realizes the entire plan as she is apprehended by Igor and his team, who intend to kill her. But Nina manages to fight back and win, despite Igor managing to get away. She also gathers the money and gives it over to the Russian diplomat, who lets Maks and Nina go unharmed. Although the diplomat seemingly had some other plans, she listened to her son’s decision to let them go, as the son apparently had been impressed by Maks’s skills in chess. Soon after this, though, Igor once again attacks the family, this time out of sheer desperation and not out of any concrete plan. He perhaps intends to kidnap Maks again and extort money from his adoptive parents, but Nina obviously defeats Igor. She does not kill the man, though, as she perhaps relates to his urge to be with his daughter, and instead leaves him to be arrested by the police.
As Nina takes Maks to his adopted home, the relationship between the two becomes extremely good and loving. Maks obviously continues to stay with his adoptive parents, whom he has known to be his family for all his life. But he also keeps in touch with Nina and even visits her house from time to time. It is during one such visit that an elderly woman arrives at Nina’s house, and it is revealed that she is Nina’s mother. The mother warns Nina that all of her enemies will now come after her since it has become public knowledge that she is alive and that she has a son. While this can be seen as a subtle, even desperate, hint towards a sequel in the future, this scene seems to be there only to stress the protective nature of mothers. Mother’s Day ends with this very scene, while a mid-credits scene is also shown, in which the head of the police force shows Igor all the video evidence that incriminates him for the events that had taken place. Unable to think of any more ways of escape, Igor seems to give in and helplessly asks whether he can call his daughter and speak with her.