Women of Mafia (2018) | Directed by Patryk Vega
aka Kobiety mafii, Mafia Women
Written by Olaf Olszewski, Patryk Vega | Starring Olga Boladz, Agnieszka Dygant, Aleksandra Poplawska
While you don’t need to take a ball-peen hammer to the forehead to enjoy Patryk Vega’s film Mafia Women (aka Women of Mafia), it sure would help. Regular readers of Attack from Planet B will remember that I reviewed Polish writer-director Vega’s Botoks (review) and came away unimpressed, if a little disgusted; with Mafia Women, I’m even less impressed, though about as disgusted. So it’s a wash, more or less.
The movie’s biggest failure is the unbelievably bad plot, which would be laughable if so much money hadn’t been spent trying to turn such a cinematic sow’s ear into the semblance of a silk purse. The only reason why certain characters survived the events of the film was because everyone around them made so many stupid, unintelligible decisions that they bent the movie’s universe toward the director’s bizarre vision. Nobody behaved in a way that made any logical sense, and the only consistency was in how entirely unlikable everyone on screen came off. If you’re up for watching over two hours of imbeciles doing mean, sickening stuff to each other, Mafia Women is definitely your jam.
The story is fairly straightforward, even if the events don’t make sense: a rebellious police officer goes undercover to destroy a Polish crime family, and achieves some level of success. As this movie is called Mafia Women instead of Cop Woman, we also follow the lives of some of the women in this crime family and see how rough they have it.
The dialogue veers from cliché to incomprehensibility, depending on the circumstance. When the mobster Millimetr, whose horribly wrinkled, walnut-like skull has made me reconsider my own choice of hairstyle, returns to a party after having forced a young girl to fellate him, Millimetr’s wife says, caustically:
“There’s sperm on your trousers. Did you blow your nose up her ass?”
What does that even mean? Did the subtitles accurately translate what was said? The best exchange in the film occurs when a mob enforcer says to the lady cop, “What happens in the ghetto stays in the ghetto,” and her entirely reasonable response is, “You’re a moron.” I couldn’t agree more.
Several of Vega’s characters were lifted without attribution from older, better intellectual properties. The bald police captain has a Kojak-like penchant for eating lollipops. The mafia boss is given to experiencing Tony Soprano-style panic attacks. The boss’s teenage daughter is the worst singer in Warsaw, but everyone applauds her cat-strangling efforts. Et cetera. Basically, law enforcement and crime families in Poland are the same as American cops and goons, except the Poles eat pierogi and the Americans eat pizza.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this movie is intended to show strong, confident women doing strong, confident woman things. Hence the title. Where this falls down is in execution. The lady cop protagonist goes undercover for weeks to pole dance, sleep with suspects, and commit murder without a single thought for her family except for a twenty-second phone call near the end of the film where her husband tells her he’s divorcing her and taking the kid. Well, okay then; that’s a loose end tied up. The other female characters, when they’re not abusers themselves, extract horrible, disgusting revenge on the men who have brutalized them: a gigantic, “Take that!” to the misogynist Mafia culture that degrades women. Or something. An extremely funny moment occurs when one character calls the main mafia boss “sexist.” This is a man who’s sold tons of hard drugs, stolen millions of zloty (Polish currency), and had countless people murdered, but it’s a sick burn when the nanny calls him sexist.
Despite all this, maybe you’d like this film. There’s a good bit of violence and car crashes, some frontal nudity, and a sweet segment of Polish rap that probably involves kielbasa and cabbage rolls or some such. If you’re a teenage kid you probably shouldn’t watch this, but if you were, and didn’t have the ability to discern quality from its lack, you’d probably enjoy it. For my part, pointing out the many flaws of Mafia Women isn’t nit-picking, because the nits are the size of icebergs. So it didn’t quite trip my trigger.
There’s a sequel called Mafia Women 2. I wonder if it’s any good.