If the Poles didn't have it bad enough by having by having nearly the entire German army blitzkrieg it's Western border on September 1, 1939, the Soviet army then invaded from the East sixteen days later. Katyn presents a history lesson that most people never heard about: the mass murder of tens of thousands of Polish officers by the Russians in 1940. While watching this film you may wonder if the Russians mistreated Poland worse than the Germans did during World War II (which is a debate in itself).
The Germans found the massacre site in 1943 and announced it to the Poles, hoping to use it for propaganda against Russia. The Russians denied the accusation and then staged it to appear the Germans were behind the butchery. Katyn doesn't tell the story in a chronological way, but we see it unfold slowly; we see both the men at war and the women at home who love them. The wives, mothers and daughters of the Polish officers spend so much time waiting and wondering what happened to them. Even when the war ends the problems of the war do not - they spill into the decades that follow.
Andrzej Wajda is Poland's best-known director and has been making films for over fifty years. I think it is great Wajda is still making films because his recent work is opening the door to younger audiences who primarily watch contemporary movies. He has long ago established himself as being a brilliant director and Katyn reflects his years of experience and talent.
Katyn is a story that is strongly based on history and is the first film about the Soviet massacre of nearly 22,000 Polish officers. I viewed Katyn with someone who lived through this time and he confirmed that even the smallest details were right on and the way it is presented is how it was. It is a tragic story that was not allowed to be told earlier because of suppressed truth and political pressure. This is a movie is not just for people that like historical dramas, but is one that everyone should watch.