The culmination of Andrzej Wajda’s ‘War Trilogy’ (the other two being A Generation and Kanal), Ashes And Diamonds plays out at the very end of World War Two, with the future of Poland still dangerously fluid. A right-wing hitman, played by the short-lived Zbigniew Cybulski is sent to bump off a newly elected Communist official – but it’s clear the killer has attached himself to a lost cause. The film’s shot with austere beauty in black and white, yet its moral judgments are anything but simplistic. The two men, killer and victim, are ex-comrades, each in his own way an idealist, and a sense of regret – for lost certainties, for wasted lives – hangs over the film, making its doom-ridden ending poignant. Too bad distributor Arrow meanly denies us any extras. Criterion’s Region Ø release offers the whole trilogy, plus exemplary extras, for about twice the price of this single disc.