Blind Chance (1987)
★ ★ ½
Here's how one film can provoke wildly different reactions.
A person who has never seen a Kieslowski film before starts with Blind Chance. The fragmented narrative is difficult to track because when a line from the beginning about a milk mustache comes up towards the end I can't remember what links the two. There's also a lot of politics, especially in the first story, and I'm not up on the political climate of Poland in the 1980s. It's a film with a lot of gimmick to point out, but very little substance that I can get my fingers into. What I did get, I thought had been done better in Run Lola Run.
I'm familiar with Kieslowski, but went into this one cold, not realizing it's premise may have inspired the romantic comedy Sliding Doors. (Did it? Does anyone know?) Having not seen a Kieslowski film in many years I had difficulty getting into his groove, where the important narrative points are sometimes buried in banal scenes. Once I grasped the multiple timelines, I realized many of the initial puzzling scenes and lines are probably going to connect to something along the way. It's a Kieslowski version of a Nolan puzzle box, and I will need multiple viewings to get it all, which is not something I'm looking to do. So, instead I let it wash over me like a first and only viewing of Fight Club, missing much of the subtext. Somewhat unsatisfying, but a Great Ending.
The final shot is so well executed, I started looking up how it was done. (I'm still not sure because the internet theory is contradicted by a detail in the shot.) This is what can lead to more research to discover more of the connections I missed the first time. (Such as who made the finale happen. Most think it was just random, but I read one post that connected a character and some events from all three stories that explain the ending.) That's a deep level of clever, but Kieslowski isn't making that kind of movie. His focus is human, not screenplay mechanics. The high points are moments of intimacy between characters. On that score, it's still not among the master's best, but there are a handful of good moments for fans of the director.