Writer/director Jerzy Skolimowski's Moonlighting is both grippingly topical and thematically allusive. Master electrician Nowak (Jeremy Irons) and three other Polish laborers arrive in London to renovate the London residence of their Warsaw boss. They have a month to complete the task in an environment which is completely alien to them.

Nowak, the only one who speaks English, serves as foreman of the crew. When he learns through the media that the Polish military leaders have imposed martial law at home and that all telephone communication and air travel between England and Poland have been shut down, Nowak becomes jailer for the other three men — keeping them from the news.

Skolimowski (Deep End, The Shout) is a skilled moviemaker with a knack for claustrophobic settings, and eerie feel for mood, a bizarre sense of humor and a sober vision of human duplicity. Moonlighting both shucks corruption in Poland and critiques the sharp edges of socialism — people stealing and preying upon each other in the mean streets of the city. Driving his men to meet their deadline and denying them the truth, Nowak turns into a totalitarian boss himself. The laborers eventually revolt and we sense in our bones the feeling of betrayal which is the ache and the agony of all individuals victimized by those who think they know best.