I have been straying from my usual taste for the last couple of months when it comes to binge-watching. Be it Jogi, No Limit, The Lorenskog Disappearance, or 42 Days of Darkness, my appetite for real-life-based stories is rising. Moreover, here’s a secret (till now), I am reading more non-fiction than its counterpart these days.
As for the matter at hand, High Water is a new Polish series streaming on Netflix. It is a suspenseful and political TV drama that caters to a natural disaster that hit Poland’s Wrocław in 1997. I have provided more information about the incident in the FAQs section of this blog.
Even though High Water is derived from a true story, you will want to know how it performs in various aspects. Therefore, here’s my High Water review to guide your decision-making process.
High Water Review Summary
Strangely, High Water’s storyline is too good to be true, meaning it is on the superficial side. In other words, the dramatization of a real-life incident has been done to extreme lengths. However, that’s just an observation. Read the full review to learn more about the show.
High Water Synopsis
High Water follows the deadly flood that shook Poland’s Wrocław in 1997. It is a fictionalized take where several characters are created to make the story worthy for the screen. You can head to this blog’s FAQs section to learn more about the series.
Directed by multiple individuals, High Water stars Agnieszka Zulewska (Tremer), Blanka Kot (Klara), Tomasz Schuchardt (Marczak), and Ireneusz Czop (Andrzej Rebacz) in lead roles.
What Works for High Water?
Thanks to the intricately built storyline, you will find many compelling scenes in High Water. Yes, there’s the drama that feels far-fetched; but it is only because you see it alongside the show’s theme. If the story is looked at individually, you will draw only positives.
There’s sorrow, love, fascination, the fear of losing someone, and many other human traits all of us have lived through.
When a disaster strikes, many suffer, several pray, and the rest are just helpless. High Water sends you into a zone of musing. You want to think if the entire fiasco was avoidable. When a young football team in Thailand was stuck inside a cave for weeks due to incessant rains, many wondered what would have happened had the authorities not ignored the initial warnings.
In any natural disaster, there are signals based on theory and instincts based on experience. Mostly, they are overlooked to avoid spreading panic among the people. I think the modus operandi is usually the same every time.
So, while watching High Water, I didn’t get sentimental by the fiction; what made me sad was how the makers presented the onset of a looming threat.
As I said, the storyline is good, which is a result of efficient writing. It has the depth to offer a wholesome experience, a vital thing to ace when dealing with a blend of reality and fiction.
Agnieszka Zulewska as Tremer is scintillating in High Water. Her rough and authentic demeanor results in a sturdy personality that High Water needed. As someone who can be persuasive and unapologetic, Agnieszka is brilliant in the show. Moreover, she portrays the emotional side of the character with caution and finesse, leading to a fulfilling presentation.
Tomasz Schuchardt plays Marczak in the series, and his magnetic charm takes over you in no time. The actor uses his eyes and facial expressions to keep you invested. Furthermore, his subtle touch of humor works wonders for High Water. Please don’t mistake humor for ‘fun’; here, I have used it as a verb.
Blanka Kot as Klara is sweet and adorable. She approaches the character with calm while sitting in the lap of fictional misfortune. Every time she appears on the screen, you are assured of an impactful delivery.
Ireneusz Czop continues to carry his acting grit as Andrzej Rebacz in High Water. He wonderfully brings into play the rigid and stubborn side of his character. The significant impact of his gray shade stays with you till the end of the show.
What Doesn’t Work for High Water?
The pace of High Water initially felt all over the place to me. Probably, the makers wanted to be more detailed about the looming threat of flooding, but they ended up introducing too many elements.
What’s surprising is that despite the slow narration, High Water feels confusing and complex early on. A lot is happening, and grabbing hold of things is not easy for the general viewer.
I hate to say this, but the drama in High Water at times overtakes the drastic effects of the flood. It allows the attention to shift from the more critical issue. I completely understand why building a personal story was necessary, and maybe, they have taken cues from the tales of real people. However, they could have gone for visuals of apathy among the masses.
Just when you are startled by the glaring storyline, a new twist is thrown to make things interesting, pushing the relatability factor lower.
High Water is unquestionably watchable, given that you are prepared for a dramatic storyline.
What is the true story behind High Water?
High Water is based on the floods that hit Poland in 1997, where 56 people died, and over 40,000 lost everything they had. The monetary damage caused by the disaster was to the tune of 12 billion PLN, roughly over $2.4 billion. It is said that the 1997 flood was the biggest disaster Poland faced after WW II.
Did the villagers near Wrocław didn’t evacuate in real?
The villages near Wrocław were defended by the locals in reality. They even went on to celebrate after pushing the forces away.
How long did Wrocław stay flooded?
Wrocław was submerged for around three weeks after the Odra and Olawa rivers began overflowing.
How did the Wrocław flood start?
The source of the Wrocław flood was the six-day downpour in Poland, Austria, and the Czech Republic.
Jasmina Tremer is real in High Water?
No, Jasmina Tremer is a fictional character in High Water.
Jakob Marczak is real in High Water?
No, Jakob Marczak is a fictional character in High Water.
What is Wielka Woda?
It is the Polish name of the series High Water.