Police, Adjective [Politist, Adjectiv] Movie Review

Including all those dull moments that are left off-screen in other cop movies, this dry, slow-paced Romanian drama portrays the tedium of an investigation with remarkable realism, dry humour and a quietly political kick.

Cristi (Bucur) is a young detective assigned to follow up on a complaint the teen Victor (Costin) made against his friend Alex (Sabadac), accusing him of selling hashish. But Cristi knows something is up, and decides to look for the suppliers instead. His superiors aren't interested in this, and want him to apply the full force of the law, even though this will mean that the essentially innocent Alex could end up in jail for four years for doing something that's not even illegal in the rest of Europe.

Shooting in long, static takes, Porimboiu catches the moment-by-moment solitude of Cristi's life, from his eventless stakeouts to the solitary dinners at home when his work clashes with the schedule of his schoolteacher wife (Saulescu).

Much of the film is made up of extended scenes in which nothing much happens, but this is precisely Porimnoiu's point, and viewers need to have the patience to catch the tiny details along the way in order to understand what the film is getting at.

In other words, this is an art film for lovers of challenging cinema. But it's also a remarkably astute look at the lonely life of a jobbing cop, with the levels of bureaucracy, strained relationships and isolation from his friends. A mention of Cristi's "foot-tennis" club early on keeps us wondering what that might be, and we do eventually get a hilarious glimpse. The concluding extended scene in which he is forced to finally confront his boss, who wants him to follow the letter of the law rather than his understanding of right and wrong, packs a few terrific punches.

This is a subtle, clever film that is far too obtuse for mainstream audiences.

Expert camerawork and transparent performances that don't even seem like acting make it technically proficient, as does the sparse but astute dialog. But with so little happening from scene to scene, most viewers will simply give up.

Which is a shame, because the film has something powerful to say to all of us about control and legalism.

Cast & Crew

Director : Corneliu Porumboiu

Producer : Corneliu Porumboiu

Starring : , Ion Stoica, Irina Saulescu, Vlad Ivanov, Radu Costin, Cosmin Selesi, Adina Dulcu, George Remes


Police, Adjective [Politist, Adjectiv] Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: 12, 2009


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