Directed by Daniel Markowicz, ’Lesson Plan’ (also known as ‘Plan lekcji’) is a Polish action-thriller film streaming on Netflix. The story follows Damian Nowicki (Piotr Witkowski), an undercover police officer and martial artist who loses his wife after the gang he has been investigating finds out who he is. The ensuing grief sends him spiraling out of control as he tries to find a modicum of solace at the bottom of his drinking glass. When his best friend, Szymon, reaches out to him for help against the drug ring active at the school he works for, Damian refuses, telling the other man to go to the police instead.
However, Szymon soon turns up dead. The official story is that he took his own life after one of the students died from an overdose of the drugs he supplied. Knowing this is a malicious lie, Damian decides to investigate what happened and joins the school staff as a replacement history teacher. If the gritty tale of fentanyl use in high school has made you wonder whether ‘Lesson Plan’ is based on actual events, we got you covered.
Is Lesson a Plan a True Story?
No, ‘Lesson Plan’ isn’t based on a true story, nor is it an adaptation of a book. It has been developed from a script by Daniel Bernardi. The film lacks the realistic approach many modern projects have taken while addressing similar issues. Instead, it seems like a love letter to the golden days of larger-than-life cinematic heroism, when one protagonist was more than enough to bring down an entire gang of baddies. In this aspect, Damian is the successor of many roles actors such as Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, and Steven Segal played in their careers.
To prepare for his role, Witkowski underwent extensive training and shared videos and images shot during his incredible journey on social media. In June 2022, Witkowski revealed that since a year earlier, he had been receiving martial arts training from stunt performer and kickboxer Michał Burdan for two upcoming projects. If one is ‘Lesson Plan,’ the other is still very much a mystery. He also revealed that Michal would be playing his brother in one of them. Given that Damian doesn’t have a brother in ‘Lesson Plan,’ it’s safe to assume that it would be the other film.
Witkowski also thanked Jarek Golec for training him with weapons and another person for judo training, adding, “These are boys for glory. Training with these gentlemen is an immanent part of both these roles, without them I would not play anything.”
While the primary purpose of ‘Lesson Plan’ is to entertain its audience, the subject matter it handles is rooted in reality. According to one survey conducted in 2018, 28 percent of high school students have stated that there have been instances of drug use on their school premises in Poland.
The fentanyl crisis has become a global issue, affecting People from all over the world, regardless of their age, ethnicity, or sex. In a very modest way, ‘Lesson Plan’ explores contemporary society, drug problems, and crime, but it is ultimately not based on a true story.