On the last official day of World War II, Polish Resistance fighters Maciek (Cybulski) and Andrzej (Pawlikowski) continue their struggle. With the Nazis vanquished, Poland is now under Soviet rule. The Polish Home Army instructs the killers to take out Szczuka (Zastrzezynski), a prominent member of the Communist Party who once fought on their side. Maciek has growing doubts, and when he meets local barmaid Krystyna (Krzyzewska), his desire for an ordinary life begins to affect his political convictions.
Wajda’s third film completes his Second World War Trilogy after “A Generation” and “Kanal”. It’s the most ideologically complex, with a large cast representing all the facets of Polish society as the nation tries to find its footing amid the shifting power allegiances. Cybulski, (known as “the Polish James Dean”) is the morally ambiguous hero, a man fighting for his own salvation against fatalistic forces. Wajda imbues the proceedings with the shadowy feel of an American film noir, creating a suspenseful thriller behind all the wartime politics…and an enduring legacy of Poland’s Nationalist spirit.