Reviews for Operation Hyacinth ( ) 1080p

IMDB: 6.4 / 10


This is a really tight fact-based drama based on a true chapter from the ignominious past of communist Poland. Beautifully photographed and set in a bleak Warsaw winter. Good performances all around and a compelling narrative make this stand above gay persecution tropes that often accompany similarly themed motion pictures.

Entertaining but confusing

This is an entertaining drama , but also somewhat confusing due to the way it is edited and scripted. The ending leaves viewers hanging and having to form their own conclusions. Had the story been better told and the character development been more detailed, it could get a higher rating. Overall, good for what it tries to show, just not excellent at telling a good story in a coherent manner!

Gritty and revealing

It's still in the news today how badly the LGBT community can be treated in Poland, and this fact is echoed in this thriller set during the latter years of communist rule in that country (1985-7) when, apparently, a campaign was set up against the community by the authorities. Those looking for a straight forward thriller will be disappointed, as although those elements are there, and are grittily and realistically done, it seems to me that the film is a lot more to do with identity, freedom, and of course sexuality, focusing as it does on the central character, a young policeman sent by his prejudiced superiors to investigate the murder of a known gay. The end result is a drama on many levels which some might feel is heavy handed, but which I found quite absorbing.

A dark time in Polish history successfully told


What appeared to be a Polish version of Cruising at the beginning is definitely not. It is a successful neo noir, controversial due to its subject matter for a Polish fiction, which recounts a police investigation into a period during which thousands of homosexuals and heterosexuals related to them were persecuted, mistreated, booked and sometimes compulsively detained. This is another of those films that strongly recreates that oppressive period climate, but also everyday "behind the iron curtain".


During the 1980s, while the Polish police and secret service carried out Operation or Action Jacinto, the young detective Robert (Tomasz Zietek, with an air of Polish Alain Delon) faces the investigation, as an undercover agent, of a murder in the underground gay community in Warsaw. Despite the rapid "solving" of the case under pressure from the SB (Polish intelligence and secret police, in which his own father is a colonel), Robert insists on carrying out the investigation and will do so for more than one reason.

What appeared to be a Polish version of Cruising at the beginning, is definitely not. Piotr Domalewski's film is a neo noir in which Robert's research poses challenges to the system that are later enhanced by more personal ones that are added. It is controversial for a Polish fiction to relate a police investigation referring to a period during which thousands of homosexuals were registered in a compulsive way from raids in a framework of denunciation so expensive to Stalinism and police brutality and that gave rise to all kinds of extortion. In other words, Operation Jacinto appears as the background of the investigation and not as the plot axis of the film. Perhaps for this reason, his denunciation is more powerful since he paints a whole period painting.

This is another of those films that strongly recreates that period climate "behind the iron curtain." The staging uses a photograph and a successful eighties soundtrack and the police and personal intrigues of the detective (although they contain some predictable elements) are very well concocted and carried out, supported by the acting solvency to which we are accustomed to Polish fictions.

A taut Polish thriller

On one level this is a superior rogue cop thriller, very much in the film noir tradition. The direction is taut. The performances are strong. And it's intriguing from start to finish. But Operation Hyacinth is also a tense and nuanced study of homophobia and the inevitable hypocrisy that goes with it. It is specifically about Poland in the 1980s, but there are almost identical stories of police persecution and conspiracy in many other places - the US and Australia to name just two, around the same time. (The recent Australian TV series, Deep Water, covers much the same territory.). What elevates Hyacinth is the way it explores the twin moral dilemmas of Robert, an aspiring secret service officer who is challenged by corruption and by his own sexuality. It's several cuts above most gay-themed movies. Recommended.

Good thriller

Glad to be just a newborn during that period of time (1985-1987) from what I saw on this movie.

It is successful in painting bleak and grimy days of communist Poland and it is respectful to every party involved, even the police/militia lol.

Good job to everyone involved. IMO this is better than other similarly themed Netflix original movies: Dance of 41, Dear Ex and I Am Jonas.

great timestamp...

And a fly on the wall look at how lbgtq+ where treated as criminals in communist republic of poland, it hasnt nescesarrily changed so much but it tells the harsh climate back then.

Props and production design are very good, filmographically its from the best of polish traditions, and the story and plot is extremely different from hollywoods.

So take a deep dive into the groin of polandish homophobia, its dark, wellacted and pretty groundbreaking silver screen art from east of the old iron curtain. Grumpy old man recommends.