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Police, Adjective

Posted by martinteller on January 13, 2013

Cristi (Dragos Bucur) is a policeman.  For days he’s been tailing a high school kid named Victor, suspected of dealing hash and/or marijuana.  He can find no evidence that Victor is a dealer, just a youth who likes to smoke the stuff occasionally with his friends.  Cristi wants to investigate further and reach the source, unwilling to ruin the young man’s life over a minor possession charge… laws that he believes will be lightened in the near future anyway.  His superiors, however, have different ideas, and put pressure on Cristi to make the arrest.

Anyone familiar with my tastes knows that I don’t have any particular problems with “slow” movies.  Tarr and Tsai are among my favorites, and just yesterday I was singing Tarkovsky’s praises.  So when I say this film tried my patience, I hope it doesn’t elicit any “Why don’t you just stick to Hollywood Michael Bay explosions, you peasant?” type of reactions.  So much of this movie feels like padding, adding little in the way of character development, plot movement, mood or engaging imagery.  Isf the point is that police work is often tedious, point taken.  And one of the most brutally dull scenes involves Cristi coming home and eating supper while his wife blasts a Romanian song on YouTube for eight minutes.  EIGHT MINUTES.  It’s got a funny payoff but getting there was torture.

I also wanted to know why Cristi’s higher-ups were so gung ho on nabbing Victor and entirely uninterested in the idea of finding the true source.  Cristi’s thoughts on the matter are sound, and would lead to a more meaningful and effective result, but they just brush him off.  I suppose we’re just meant to assume that they won’t listen to a subordinate, but a couple of lines addressing the matter would have made it feel less like an artificial construct.

Nonetheless, the film is intriguing in its exploration of moral law versus the professional duty of a lawman, especially in the ways it uses language and interpretation of language to complicate matters.  How well-defined are our moral codes, and does an inability to articulate them mean they’re not as strong as we thought?  Or is Cristi’s boss engaging in semantic games that obscure the real truths?

Porumboiu’s previous 12:08 East of Bucharest was more engaging to me, due to largely to the humor (which is present here but in much lesser quantities).  I enjoyed thinking about this movie more than watching it.  Rating: Fair (66)


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