The Line is a fast-paced crime thriller that takes place on the border of Slovakia and Ukraine just as Slovakia is about to join the European Union. The region has for years been a smuggling center with many levels of criminal gangs. Now that the new political situation will institute stricter border controls, the old criminal hierarchies might be turned upside-down…or not.
The title, The Line, doesn’t refer to just the line between Slovakia and Ukraine, but also to the moral line each person creates that he or she will not cross. Adam Krajnak (Tomáš Maštalír) runs a cigarette smuggling business. He’s willing to expand to engage in people smuggling, as long as the smuggled people are refugees seeking a better life. But he refuses to traffic in methadrine or narcotics. This does not sit well with Ukrainian gangster Krull or with some of Adam’s employees, such as Luka, who is desperate to buy his son out of prison because the young man fears he is about to be killed.
There is a lot more going on in The Line and quite a cast of interesting characters, including innocent Ivor, who wants to marry Adam’s daughter, and Adam’s crime matriarch mother, Anna, played by the great veteran actress Emília Vášáryová, who starred in last year’s Slovak entry, Eva Nová. Vášáryová is so famous that her 60-year filmography has its own Wikipedia page.
This an extremely entertaining film with high-end production values all-around from script to casting, to acting, to cinematography, etc.
I had the honor of spending time with producer Wanda Adamík Hrycová and her father, veteran actor Andrej Hryc, who plays the villainous local police chief. Although Hryc has made his living primarily playing villains, he was proud to point out that he dubbed the voice of Fred Flintstone from English into Slovak, and, yes, “yabadabadoo” is the same in both languages.