Spontaneousfilm's notebook

Police, Adjective
October 31, 2009, 1:10 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , ,



Corneliu Porumboiu: Police, Adjective, Romania, 2009 w Dragos Bucur, Vlad Ivanov
With English subtitles on Oct 30, 2009. Running time: 115 MIN.

In Police, Adjective, Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu devotes himself to a seemingly – at first glance – simple story about a small town cop reluctant of busting a minor for endorsing hashish with friends. Although vague at first, we learn that the civil police Cristi is having an unease conscience about nailing the young man, which may inflict seven years in prison for what Cristi believes to be a petty crime that will – soon enough – be looked upon more liberated. Throughout pic we follow his daily routines and interactions in the downbeat and austere town of Vaslui, including scenes of parodic bureaucracy and laudable lengthy takes.

Police, Adjective is admittedly in many ways difficult to interpret. The first half of the film deals with classic police work (classic as in reality, not classic as in previously depicted on film) including Cristi’s pursuit of suspects and filing reports. For an audience used to clustered action pics, this is nothing but tedious and unbearable to endure. From a more objective perspective, it could be conveyed as original and daring. This course of the film is harmless, it is on the contrary a certain, yet inevitable cul-de-sac initiated by a mere typo, that push it in a slightly too academic stand. On the other hand, it could also be considered an ironic twist when deciding how Cristi’s moral dilemmas should be solved.

One of the more unfortunate aspects of Porumboiu’s directing, in particular substantial for Police, Adjective but nonetheless equally visible in previous film 12:08 East of Bucharest, is that the [black] humor sometimes may appear so subtle that when juxtaposed to foreigners it can easily be completely lost (in translation.)

Watching Porumboiu’s battle between an objective and supreme law versus Cristi’s subjective conscientious law is evidently quite fascinating, despite the somewhat submissive, clustered conclusion it grants towards the end.

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