Matej Minacs documentary on Sir Nicolas Winton has more misses than hits.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MATEJ MINAC
A young Sir Nicholas Winton with a rescued child.
There are some stories that are stronger than any fictiontake Nickys Family. Director Matej Minac tells the story of Sir Nicholas Winton, an Englishman who spearheaded the rescue of hundreds of Czech and Slovak children right as World War II began to escalate. Winton was quiet about these events until his wife discovered a suitcase full of documents more than 50 years later.
As amazing a story as it is, Minac succumbs to a few pitfalls. The dramatic re-enactments come off as anything but. The film prides itself on the story being completely remarkable and untold, so it makes no sense to tell the story second hand. Transitioning from war footage to VHS quality film and acting is not only disorienting, but shows the mark of an amateur, not an auteur.
Major stumbles aside, Nickys Family has a few bright spots. The research and newsreel footage make the story palpable and relatable as the interviews of the refugees show the humanity (or lack thereof) during WWII. Though the ending could appear like a promo, its obvious to see how expansive the ripple effect is of Wintons good deed.
Stuck between a drama and an actual documentary, Nickys Family has heart but fails to be good at both.