Decalogue VI. ★★★★

”Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

Score: 77/100

THE BOTTOM LINE: Dekalog VI feels like a Polish Rear Window, only with the main character’s intrusions fueled by pure emotion rather than boredom from being temporarily crippled. I think there’s something inherently interesting about voyeurism—it’s a common temptation that, despite still being illegal, doesn’t carry the same weight nor ramifications as larger crimes like murder. On the surface, it seems harmless. I enjoy watching all of the ways in which Tomek plots to see his mistress woman, Magda. But the most poignant part of Dekalog VI happens after Tomek reveals to Magda that he’s been watching her. Magda is a woman that cares little about true love—she believes it to be nothing more than a word that gets tossed around carelessly. She closely relates “love” to “sex” because that’s what most of the men in her life have used her for. Tomek himself admits he used to get a sexual rise out of watching her... but not anymore. Now he watches her purely out of curiosity and longing—but not sexual longing... he’s fallen in love with her. He watches her drink milk and it’s every bit as fascinating to him as it was to watch her get undressed. Magda, still a bit perturbed and defiant about true love, humiliates Tomek. She invites him over and makes sexual advances, despite his reluctance and inexperience. He pulls a ‘Jim’ from American Pie and makes a mess of himself without having done much to which Magda responds, “That’s all there is to love.” It’s a painfully awkward scene to watch. But imagine how Tomek must feel. [SPOILERS] Hereafter is where the heart of Dekalog VI lies. In Tomek’s immense embarrassment, he runs home and attempts suicide (which ultimately fails). But Magda’s conscience comes into play. She has a moment of clarity and a brief glimpse of a boy who was truly passionate about her without an ulterior motive rooted in sex. Boom—the roles are suddenly reversed. Magda tries to signal for Tomek to come back over, but she’s unaware of his suicide attempt. Now she is the one constantly watching out of her window with binoculars, looking for Tomek, trying to bring him back. She ignores her previous lover, she walks to his apartment with the pretense of returning his jacket, she stalks him at the post office. One of the strongest moments in the entire series is when Magda finally locks eyes with Tomek and he monotonically replies that he’s no longer watching her, almost void of any emotion. The metamorphosis is complete.

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