Jack Strong

Jack Strong is a Polish thriller released in 2014. It is based on the true story of Colonel Ryszard Kukliński, who begins working with the CIA in hopes of helping take down the Soviet Union. The film’s title refers to Kukliński’s CIA codename. David Forden, Kukliński’s real-life CIA handler, helped with preparations for the film.

The real-life Kukliński participated in planning the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia in response to the Prague Spring, but was horrified several years later when Polish soldiers shot at civilians during protests against price increases. In 1972, disgusted by the harshness of the Communist regimes, he began his cooperation with the United States. He worked with the CIA until 1981, providing thousands of pages of classified documents, which he had access to as a high-ranking military official.

The film received generally positive reviews and was a success at box offices in Poland, the United States, and the United Kingdom. It was nominated for ten Polish Film Awards (Eagles), and Maja Ostaszewska won best actress for her role as Kukliński’s wife. Not only a well-known actress in Poland, Ostaszewska has also had small roles in the American movies The Pianist and Schindler’s List and starred in the 2007 Polish film Katyn, which was nominated for best foreign-language film at the Academy Awards.

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Director: Władysław Pasikowski
Stars: Marcin Dorociński, Maja Ostaszewska, Piotr Nerlewski, Józef Pawłowski, Patrick Wilson
Production company: Scorpio Studio
Box office take: $6 million+

Official trailer:

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Jack Strong

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.