An epic, Citizen Kane-like story of a great man’s rise and fall during 1950s Poland. Why no reviewers on the imdb came up with the nickname Comrade Kane for this movie is beyond me, so I hereby initiate that here and now. Unlike Wells’ film about a man creating his myth with his own ego and talents, Wajda’s hero is manipulated on all sides by the propaganda tools of the State. If I knew more about communist Polish history (or the 70s thaw on display in the framing device), I’d probably be able to point out specific allegories. Now here’s the real tragedy of this film. It is a lengthy epic and the first 90 minutes are absolutely fantastic. Really “A” material. The second 90 minutes are flat. What’s most troubling is that, in going over it in my mind, I am unable to pinpoint what it is about the second half that didn’t work for me. All I know is that the second half started to drag and by the last reel I was begging for the damned thing to end. I still give it a “B” because the first half really kicks ass and the whole thing is so damned unique (at least from my perspective) that it is still worth your time. Also: kitschy 70s glasses, bell bottoms, music and hairstyles abound!