Starring: Michalina Olszanska, Martin Pechlát, Klára Melísková
Director: Petr Kazda, Tomás Weinreb
Running Time: 105 mins
I, Olga Hepnarová is a Czech film about the true story of the notorious killer, Olga Hepnarová, a young woman who was sentenced to death after driving a truck into a group of innocent people in Prague in 1973.
Cold, complex and very unnerving, this film wants so much to be a truly powerful and truly disturbing real-life story, but it unfortunately hits far wide of the mark. Despite its striking cinematography and decent central performance, I, Olga Hepnarova is nowhere near as interesting or even effective as it needs to be, and as it drags along at a very slow pace, it makes for a frustrating and fairly boring watch.
On the whole, I wasn’t all that impressed by this film, but that doesn’t mean that it’s all disappointing. For one, it is a very good-looking film, with its slick black-and-white cinematography playing a huge part of the role in bringing some tension and a genuine sense of fear to the film, something I loved to watch throughout.
What’s more is that the lead performance from Michalina Olszanska isn’t all that bad. I can’t say that she manages to bring the scariest elements of what should be an incredibly unnerving character to life, but her intense quietness and deadpan facial expressions do at least give you a sense of the cold and demented personality inside.
Despite all that, however, there’s not much else that makes this film particularly impressive. While the historical fact of it all is very interesting, the film just isn’t quite sharp enough to make it a sumptuous watch.
The central focus of the film is the inner psyche of Olga Hepnarová, initially presenting her as a young, albeit troubled woman, and then developing the character to show a greater menace behind the facade. In that, it’s very reminiscent of A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, furthered by the incredibly similar visual style.
However, while A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night had some incredibly striking moments of tension and drama, as well as bringing some genuine menace to the story and the main character, I, Olga Hepnarová really doesn’t manage to do the same, and unfortunately that’s the main reason that it’s just not that interesting a film, failing to take a terrifying true story and translate that well onto the big screen, so that’s why I’m giving it a 6.5 overall.