19 Jun 2024

Kos. Glorious Bastards Unleashed

A historical thriller filled with tension, subtext, and style, based on a true story.

Poland, 1794 – the atmosphere is explosive due to military conflicts with Russia and the inhumane exploitation of peasants bound to the land by greedy nobles. The idealistic General Tadeusz "Kos" Kosciuszko (Jacek Braciak) returns from America, where he fought on the side of the United States in the Revolutionary War, to his troubled homeland. He is accompanied by Domingo (Jason Mitchell) – a freed slave and loyal friend, and together they have a plan: to rally the support of the oppressed peasants and conscientious nobles against Russia, to make Poland a free country for all.

Meanwhile, the hunted bastard Ignac Sikora, brilliantly portrayed by Bartosz Bielenia, strives to confirm his nobility by ratifying his father's will. The main antagonist, Russian cavalry captain Iwan Dunin (Robert Wieckiewicz), dominates every scene he appears in and is the kind of enemy you love to hate. Their encounter will become legendary.

As expansive and palpable as the historical context is, the film is equally focused and restrained, condensing nearly all this tension within the walls of a manor house, over the course of an evening filled with drinking, poker, betrayal, gunpowder, and bloodied daggers.

Screenwriter Michal A. Zielinski and director Pawel Maslona have clearly learned important lessons from Tarantino, but Kos (Scarborn) has the advantage of being based on real events, which gives the film a touching personal and human note.