Thursday 25 February 2010

Police, Adjective (Politist, Adj.) [2009]

Corneliu Porumboiu’s sophomore effort is in many ways akin to 12:08 East of Bucharest, his brilliant debut feature – it has captured the mundane ordinariness and ironies of life with the kind of candour that has almost come to typify Romanian New Wave cinema, has as its latent topic post-Causescu Romanian bureaucracy and hangover, and a title that doesn’t fail to catch one’s attention. And though the off-balancing humour of his first feature has been heavily toned down, the movie is certainly not completely bereft of mordant observations and commentary that are sure to incite a few chuckles despite the deliberately drab tone. This anti-thriller, so to speak, is a police procedural focusing on the pangs of “conscience” that a cop is facing while at his latest assignment. Contrary to popular genre conventions and nearly bordering on the ludicrous, “its climactic scene”, as A.O. Scott has aptly put it, “is not a chase or a shootout, but rather a tense, suspenseful session of dictionary reading”; and that, captured through long, static takes, forms the most singularly memorable part of the movie. The director, through a slow, uneventful plotline, has captured the minutest details of the protagonist’s job, thus bringing forth the banalities and absurdities of life around him. And by the way, Vlad Ivanov’s startling cameo as the police chief reminded me of his explosive turn in 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days.

Director: Corneliu Porumboiu
Genre: Drama/Urban Drama/Police Drama
Language: Romanian
Country: Romania


Alex DeLarge said...

I've been really forward to this film. I hesitated to finish my Top Ten list of '09 without first seeing this, but knew the DVD release was months away. Thanks for the incisive review!

Just Another Film Buff said...

One of my favorites of the year. Really incisive. May not be for all tastes though...

Shubhajit said...

@Alex: Yeah, do watch out for it. And in the meantime, have a go at 12:08 East of Bucharest, if you already haven't. You'll love it.

@JAFB: I completely agree. Not at all for all tastes.