A political satire that has a love story laced into it, followed by making a political and ideological statement as well—a combination of all of them, and we have “Operation: Nation,” a Polish Netflix Original. Directed by Piotr Kumik, the movie is all about how an extreme right-wing upcoming party is trying too hard to make themselves feel seen on a public platform and the steps they take to make sure they are relevant enough to be taken seriously. But here, something must go wrong, right?
Roman’s Radical Youth Party
“Operation: Nation” begins with a bunch of young men bringing a birthday cake to celebrate the 103rd birthday of Adolf Hitler and his ideology, which is white supremacy and Nazism. Roman happens to be the leader of the RYS party based in the Polish town of Bialystok, and he is happy to see that a lot of young men have gathered to support his idea of bringing back the Nazi party’s ideology to the forefront. Roman believes that SS’s ideas and work must be reinstated as there has been too much progress in the general society around them. He believes Poland is not ready for such massive changes, and that men like him have to take charge of bringing old-world order back into the country. The hilarity lies in the scenario when the men try to unfurl the party flag to commemorate the party; the Nazi swastika symbol is wrong. The party comes to an early end because someone from the town informs the police about the gathering of a radical party. Roman tries to flee from the gathering to avoid being arrested and tried for the work he is carrying out. He is on a single-handed mission to retain Poland’s ‘authenticity’ and not encourage any sort of “deviant” activities, such as legalizing LGBTQ communities in the country (a word he keeps mispronouncing) and shutting the door for immigration of people from other parts of the world to Poland, especially Arab and African nations.
Though Roman and his core party members, which consist of only five people including him, are taking the trouble to make their party seen, they also want the country to know the kind of work they are into and to use their freedom to make their voice heard. Roman and his gang of men end up getting arrested for gathering and discussing their neonazi plans, which is something frowned upon, considering what Poland went through under Nazi Germany. Meanwhile, Staszek Sulkowski, in his twenties, is struggling to work as a parking lot attendant and wants something better for himself. Because of this, he is carried away by Roman’s words and ends up idolizing him and Hitler. Staszek must live in the same room as his sister, for he is also struggling to find a place to live on his own. It is evident from taking a peek into his room that Roman has affected his outlook.
Staszek runs into Pola, who is back in Bialystok following a break with her cheating boyfriend in Warsaw. She is being harassed by a drunk person at the bar, and that’s when Staszek ends up helping Pola by getting rid of the man. Pola is intrigued by the stranger who just helped her, and they end up sharing numbers. Pola and Staszek are attracted to each other, but what makes them different is their opposite political ideologies. She is a staunch leftist, whereas Staszek is a far-right radical who hates everything about what a leftist person does. Pola, though, must submit a thesis for her master’s degree, and the topic she finally chooses to talk about is the re-emergence of the far-right radical group and why they want to exist in a world where there is no space for racism and discrimination.
Roman and the other men get their bail based on their not indulging in any violent acts of crime. They are elated to let the world know of their existence because of this verdict. He asks Staszek to officially join his party and help with the plenty of work that is going to come their way if they seriously want to consider being a far-right faction. The boys end up renting a room from a priest from the church, who is intrigued by the kind of work this bunch of men do. He soon becomes a frequent member of the gathering and provides them with input. The gang ends up harassing plenty of people in public places, which includes confronting a man of African lineage for dating a Polish woman and making a foolproof plan to eliminate a synagogue. All of these are an indication that the far-right cannot be taken seriously, especially RYS, because they do not get the pulse of the nation. They are just tapping into the ideologies of the previous generation and the generation before to justify their acts. The miniscule number of people in this party do not represent the whole of Poland. But the stupidity of Roman and his men remains in the fact that they can get away with crimes and not be held accountable for their actions. It is hard to decipher if they will be successful in their endeavors.
‘Operation: Nation’ Ending Explained – Did Staszek Stop Roman From Bombing The Pride Parade?
As Roman and his gang start working on their RYS political party, Pola comes by to interview Roman and the rest of them to learn more about what they intend to do if they ever come to power in the country. Staszek makes himself invisible by wearing a balaclava mask, though. He does not want Pola to recognize him because he has started liking her, and they have started spending a lot of time together. Staszek portrays himself as someone who is not a radical because he wants to be with Pola. Despite their different political ideologies, Staszek cannot stop himself from being attracted to Pola, and he would do anything to make this relationship work. The men try to come up with many ideas to keep themselves relevant. To bring back the radical right way of living, Roma invites an Italian man who has some ideas on how to restore dictatorship because he idolizes Mussolini. Unfortunately for this man, on reaching Bialystok, he is attacked by the young boys who believe in keeping immigrants out of the country and end up severely beating up this man. The irony here is that Roman and his RYS are the groups that promoted the idea of not allowing immigrants in their country. His Italian friend became a victim of a hate crime, the likes of which Roman and his men have always pushed people to commit. His Italian friend getting severely injured has Roman go on the back foot and reconvene.
On the other hand, Pola and her bunch of leftist friends end up at the hospital on hearing the news of the same Italian immigrant being attacked. They assume it to be a race-related attack and end up supporting the man in any way they can. Since Staszek was already present at the hospital, Pola is happy to see him standing up for her cause, which is to reduce hate against minority communities and immigrants that come to the country. Pola and Staszek end up kissing each other because she thinks he is the kind of person who listens and understands her point of view, without realizing she might end up with a broken heart once she comes to know of his real identity.
Staszek has reached a point where he likes Pola, but he does not know how to let her know that he is not the person he projects himself to be. Roman’s party men end up going to an Arabic restaurant and end up harassing the cook for not making the restaurant Polish enough, and they start manhandling him. The person, acting in self-defense, ends up stabbing Mieszko. They start a protest outside the restaurant about why immigrants are bad for the economy. Staszek is reluctant to go back to the RYS meeting, but the stabbing incident has him going to the protest to support his injured friend. Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the protest, Pola is fighting in favor of the restaurant’s owner and fighting for his rights. Pola sees Staszek protesting with Roman and breaks up with him immediately. Staszek tries to let her know his situation, but she is in no mood to entertain his justifications. Pola walks away from him, and Staszek ends up being alone and wondering what just transpired in his life in the wake of supporting a delusional far-right activist.
Roman’s next idea for his RYS party is to infiltrate the LGBTQ community in Poland, destabilize them, and create havoc. Roman sees Staszek speaking to people in the group, and he assumes he can use Staszek to get them to like him, and he will strike them when the time is right. As Staszek and Mariusz enter the pride party, Marius feels a little bit odd in the presence of the queer people because he has never been exposed to the concept of being queer. The group is successful in befriending a lot of people, and they start hanging out with them. Taking advantage of that, Roman and his men plan to sabotage the pride parade. Staszek is worried about the extreme steps Roman is willing to take just to prove a point. Roman reveals that he plans to bomb the parade. Staszek is all in support of the far right, but his buck stops at harming and killing people. He did not join this faction to kill his people but to create a discourse body through talks and debate. He goes up against Roman for the first time, and they end up having a tiff.
Roman and his men tie up Staszek and head to the parade to execute their plan. Staszek ends up calling Pola and informing her of what Roman plans to do. She helps Staszek by informing the police about it, but the police’s reaction to this news is lukewarm. Pola heads to stop the bombing. Roman assigns the detonator to Mariusz because he realizes Staszek is at the parade to stop him. As Roman tries to escape, he and his men are arrested by the police. Pola and Staszek try to stop the bomb from getting detonated, and that’s when Mariusz lets them know that he defused the bomb himself because he never wanted Roman’s plan to go ahead.
As Roman is being taken to the cop car, he sees Mariusz kissing another man. Roman realizes Mariusz is indeed gay, and that sending him off to a pride party worked in Mariusz’s favor. Mariusz realizing he is gay helped him make a sound decision not to go ahead with bombing the pride. Pola is happy to see Staszek taking a stand in this matter, and they get back together by sealing their love with a kiss. The last scene of “Operation: Nation” has the same Roman out of jail and still propagating his ideas about RYS being approached by a minister from the government to become his deputy. Roman is finally offered a position of power. Pola finally gets her master’s degree, and Staszek moves out of his apartment to live with Pola.