One Way Ticket to the Moon (2013) is set during the NASA moon landings of 1969 and follows the events of a young Pole named Adam Sikora (Filip Plawiak) as he receives his Navy conscription orders. Adam is apprehensive about spending the next 3 years of his life in the Navy as it becomes clear he has yet fully to grow up (including losing his virginity). His brother, Antoni (Mateusz Kosciukiewicz), strives to get him ready for the Navy as he travels with him across Poland to achieve this goal. Adam relies heavily on his brother during their travels across Poland, but when he finally can take Antoni’s controlling nature no longer he leaves him alone in the hotel. It is Adam’s moments with an exotic dancer named Roxanne that suggest his goal is seemingly within his grasp. Unfortunately for Adam this encounter brings the comedy to an abrupt end, and the film takes a dramatic turn.
Famed Polish director, Jacek Bromski, is able to weave together a comedy whilst being able to show the true light of communist Poland during the 1960s. Corruption becomes a running theme throughout the film which includes a notable scene where a train conductor seems to delight in explaining the various ways to succeed in cheating the system. The contrasting personalities of the two brothers further adds to the compelling storyline, as Adam is shown as the honest man trying to get by in life whereas Antoni is brash and liberal with the law. Although the story is well developed, the jump between comedy and drama is incongruous and abrupt, changing the direction of the film rather too drastically.
Yet One Way Ticket to the Moon is successful in drawing the audience into a compelling storyline which combines both comedy and drama. The overall sense of integrity versus corruption comes across magnificently throughout the film, embodied by several characters including the two brothers, the train conductor, Roxanne and her personal sex-pest, a corrupt and predatory police officer. It’s a struggle that’s made visually too, Adam shown mainly in light-coloured clothing, Antoni in dark. The combination of themes and emotions make for an entertaining film which will leave the viewer more than satisfied, if rather disorientated by the final half hour. The film is something more than just enjoyable: an insight into the corruption which permeated the Communist regime.
The solid script and strong chemistry between the two lead actors makes One Way Ticket to the Moon a deserving winner of the Best Screenplay award at the Gdynia film festival.
One Way Ticket to the Moon is part of the KINOTEKA 2014 Polish Film Festival. For details, please see Cultural Diary.