This Irish-Polish co-production has bags of energy as it flits between the lives of eight Warsaw inhabitants whose lives intersect for the titular time.
11 Minutes launches right into it and doesn’t let up, refusing to hold anyone’s hand as to who’s who and what they’re about. Richard Dormer’s (Good Vibrations, ’71) smarmy film director welcomes the beautiful Anna (Chapko) to his hotel room with more on his mind than just casting, while her jealous husband (Mecwaldowski), sporting a cut above his eye after tangling with a man who only last night came on to his wife, contemplates kicking the door in. A woman and her window-cleaning lover (Jan Nowicki) waste a free room a few floors down by watching porn instead of making love. A courier (David Ogrodnik) delivers drugs to the penthouse above.
Across the street, a chirpy hot dog salesman (Andrzej Chyra) entertains his religious customers and a downbeat girl (Ife Ude) with a dog as he awaits an important rendezvous. Down the road, paramedics (led by Anna Maria Buzeck’s doctor) battle obstructions and violent residents in a tower block to get to a pregnant woman, while a thief (Piotr Glowacki) finds a man hanging in the pawn shop he’s been instructed to steal from. Linking the time together is a low flying plane that rumbles the hotel as it passes overhead.
It’s a dizzying amount of subplots and characters to get through and not only does its scattershot approach hard to keep up with in the opening exchanges, director Jerszy Skolimowski (Essential Killing) kicks things off using CCTV, mobile phones, Skype calls and whatnot to introduce his players; we’re really still getting to know everyone at the halfway mark. Skolimowski’s camera is a busy thing too, whirling around scenes, closing in on odd things to further keep the audience on an uneven footing. Plus time can fold back on itself with the stories overlapping as everything builds to a tragedy involving all characters.
Phew. It’s a lot to be getting on with. A multi-plotted film (think Magnolia or Crash or Amores Perros condensed and put on fast forward) 11 Minutes is slick and smartly put together, but the tragedy itself is a forced coincidence, and that the end result says that we’re all connected in this chaos cheapens the effort put in.