“The Getaway King,” directed by Mateusz Rakowicz, is quite an enjoyable ride through history, thanks to its technical expertise that compliments the execution of the film as well as the lead character’s charisma. We have to hand it to cinematographer Jacek Podgórski for the way he plays with the camera, giving us unique, wondrous moments that perfectly capture the mood which despite being over-the-top do not appear out-of-place. Although these do not match the film’s nature and atmosphere, there is a comfort in not knowing whether the director decides to glorify the lifestyle of a thief or if it is a motif used to showcase the contrast between how lavish his life is and the nature of the work he does. Rakowicz uses this comfort to give us a well-portrayed story that is not adapted but inspired by real incidents. This allows him to put the director’s cut into the film to give it a personal touch. Even the catchy music adheres to the scenes and doesn’t feel out of place. Heists have made their way into the hearts of the audience, thanks to Netflix’s Money Heist. And The Getaway King acquires the same recipe with the same ingredients of romance and action but garnishes it with a highly saturated hue and a unique stylistic execution to give us 1 hours 40 minutes worth of comforting binge-watch.
“The Getaway King” is based on the life of notorious Polish thief Zdzisław “Najmro” Najmrodzki, who gained notoriety for escaping the authorities a record 29 times. He robbed more than 70 Pewex stores that did transactions only in American dollars as a means to combat the foreign currency deficit in Communist Poland. He also stole approximately 100 cars. According to official reports, he died in a car accident in 1995, somewhere near Mlawa, northern Poland.
‘The Getaway King’ Plot Summary
Zdzisław Najmrodzki aka Najmro (Dawid Ogrodnik) and his team, consisting of Antos (Jakub Gierszał), Młoda (Sandra Drzymalska) and Teplic (Andrzej Andrzejewski), make their lavish living out of robbery at Pewex stores that sell luxury goods and also share the loot with the common folk. Since the stores would only accept American dollars, it was next to impossible for the regular folks to shop in these places. So, they became a savior for the general public by stealing from these shops and selling it to them. However, what they do isn’t legal, and Lieutenant Barski (Robert Więckiewicz), of the Militia, is ready to bring an end to their crimes and is dead set upon it. One night, Najmro meets “la belle dame” Tereska (Masza Wągrocka), who sells tickets at a film theater, and is mesmerized by her. What makes Najmro fall for Tereska is the fact that she is unmoved by his so-called charm.
Meanwhile, Najmro shifts from robbing Pewex stores to stealing cars and selling them. However, his romantic life takes a toll on his job, which doesn’t go down well with Antos, who tries to take things into his own hands, robbing a person of the money and bringing it back home, something that is against Najmro’s ideals. In return, Najmro throws him out of his crew. With revenge in mind, Antos informs the police about Najmro’s whereabouts, and he is arrested. During Najmro’s tenure in jail, Antos becomes a full-fledged criminal working for a mob. He even goes on to threaten Najmro’s family, stealing money from them and physically assaulting Tereska. However, after the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, a new government was formed in Poland, which led to Najmro’s release. It also removed Barski from his office, who was then reached out to by Najmro’s family for help. All of them then work together to bring down Antos.
Najmro tracks down Antos at a club, warns him, and leaves, but not before hitting him in the head with a gun. As Najmro leaves, an unhinged Antos follows him, and there is a car chase with Antos following Najmro. Meanwhile, Barski is also following them, apparently planning to take Antos down while he is busy hunting for Najmro. Next up, Barski hears a car explosion, and finds out that it is Najmro’s car. The police also recover Najmro’s left hand with his ring on one of the fingers which proves that it is indeed him. As the family raises a toast to their dead and beloved Najmro, Najmro arrives at the table. His left hand is missing, taking everyone by utter shock and surprise. It meant that it was Antos who died in the explosion, and the hand was Najmro’s way of removing himself from under the radar of the police as well as the mobs. The film ends with Najmro speaking in an interview about how he loves action movies and that “love is a must.”
A Thief with a Heart of Gold is Still a Thief
“The Getaway King” excels in giving us an exuberant personality of a thief to whom we tend to take a liking. It is only because we live in a society where justice prevails that we feel that we are wrong in liking him. He purports to provide goods for those people who cannot afford them. While how the film portrays this is endearing, there is a dread that underlines his activities as to what his fate has in store for him. We know he has escaped from prison many times, but there is always the last time for everything, or so we are made to think, which is also what usually happens. He even saved Barski from dying. But Barski doesn’t register this move and punches Najmro unconscious right on the spot and arrests him. The film also adds a romantic element to raise the stakes, which does take the form of harm later on when Antos hits Tereska. He also threatens Najmro’s mother. And that’s when Najmro decides that it’s time for payback. However, the fact that he doesn’t go after Barski is proof that he respects him and what he does. Perhaps that’s why Barski agrees to help him later on.
‘The Getaway King’ Ending Explained- What Happened To Najmro?
For a film that almost assures that the lead negative character will have to face justice for his actions no matter how nice he is to his people, “The Getaway King” comes with a surprise. The film makes it seem as if Antos and Najmro will have a face-off, but all that we get is an explosion, and then Najmro is declared dead by the police. But at the end of the film, we find out that he is alive, thanks to Barski. And it was Barski who hid him long enough for the cops and the mob to consider him off their radar once and for all. The film ends in prison, which suits a thief’s end but yet manages to carry forward its endearing nature and Najmro’s words into our minds.
“The Getaway King” is an incomplete story because it doesn’t show us the death of Zdzisław “Najmro” Najmrodzki. And maybe that’s the good thing about it, because that would be usual. The film aims to give us a glimpse into the life of a thief and how he was no less than a star among those who knew him, other than the authorities. The love, the conflict, the romance, the anger, the hurt, it’s all there, and yet it doesn’t let itself loose on us by making us think about the events but rather enjoy them while learning a bit about the life of Najmro. And that’s the beauty of “The Getaway King.” It comes, and it goes, without us even realizing it but making its presence felt, just like a thief.
“The Getaway King” is a 2022 Biopic Crime Comedy film directed by Mateusz Rakowicz.