Politist, adj. (Police, Adjective) (2009)
A cop finds himself growing uncomfortable with his latest assignment in this study in the nature of power and authority from Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu. Cristi (Dragos Bucur) is a seasoned police detective who has just gotten married to Anca (Irina Saulescu) and wants to keep his superiors happy. Cristi's boss, Nelu (Ion Stoica), has ordered the detective to keep a close watch on Victor (Radu Costin), a teenager who is suspected of dealing drugs for a local cartel. Cristi has spent several weeks following Victor's actions and is certain that the kid smokes marijuana with his friends, but isn't any kind of drug pusher and should be left alone. Cristi is also aware that Romanian authorities are expected to relax their laws regarding drugs in the near future, making it all but pointless to possibly ruin Victor's life by bringing him in, but while Nelu understands Cristi's thinking, he's not so willing to let the youngster off so easily. Politist, Adj. (aka Police, Adjective) was an official selection at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. … More
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Critic Reviews for Politist, adj. (Police, Adjective)
An absorbing and contemplative detective story in which the high point of the action involves reading from a dictionary. Really.
Porumboiu's style is steady, observational, his camera tracking Cristi along the streets in much the way Cristi tracks his subject.
I suspect that those versed in the arcana of Romanian politics will get the most out of this movie, but its moral issues, revolving as they do around matters of rightness and repression, are certainly universal.
Simultaneously a police procedural, an analysis of language and imagery, a philosophical debate about law and justice, and a very, very dry Romanian Martini -- so dry that, at first, one doesn't quite taste much of anything.
The film proceeds at Detective Cristi's pace, stopping and starting, hiding and emerging, scanning and staring, as the languid camera surveys the dismal neighborhoods with undisguised ennui.
Intellectually and aesthetically Police, Adjective is a film of merit but that doesn't make it any easier to endure.
Un viaje a través de los laberintos del poder y de la burocracia, con una economía narrativa que, por más que ponga a prueba la paciencia del espectador, luce plenamente al servicio de su anécdota.
It's one of those films which, on its placid but pointed surface, seems to be about nothing very much but manages by its end to tell us a great deal.
Sadly, the film does little more than illuminate the audacity of a film-maker intent on testing the benevolence of his audience by presenting them with nothing of interest to watch.
The insidious humour and fascination with moral quandaries keep it consistently engrossing.
This whole film is very "police": that is, not exciting or dramatic, but suspicious, cynical and exhausted.
Complex, intellectually rigorous and yet incredibly enjoyable on multiple levels.
Porumboiu's film is proof that a police procedural can be compelling even without the genre's usual maverick sleuthing or combustible action.
A riveting slice of Romanian new wave drama, haunted by shadows of the Ceausescu era and never less than thought-provoking.
A "police procedural" with a difference: the policeman hero refuses to proceed.
Porumboiu's minimalist style can be a chore to sit through at times, but part of the film's brilliant innovation is how it manages to be so rich while expending as little effort as possible.
There's something comic about cops writing dictionary definitions on a blackboard. But there's a tragic undertone as well, because those in power get to define what those words mean.
It moves at a snail's pace. And it's visually dispiriting. Have I talked you into seeing it yet? ... It's worthwhile -- especially for those interested in how words can become instruments of power.
This kind of boredom -- the soul-crushing boredom of experiencing someone else's tedium for a change -- can do strange things to a movie-goer.
Audience Reviews for Politist, adj. (Police, Adjective)
A world weary Romanian cop tails some poor schmuck of a kid who's out smoking hash with his friends: should his bust the lump, or try to nail his supplier? But if he does it, the kid's life is in the crapper ... what to do, what to do? But this is only one problem in the cop's life. His wife is getting restless. Her husband doesn't seem to care about things, the important things, like about words and their meanings and how that intersects with our lives. You may decide, like the cop, to exclaim, "who thinks about this stuff?!? Who's got the time?!?" Or, you may give this slow simmer of a tale a chance to steep.More
Definition of 'slow' (don't watch this if your sleepy), earnest, European arthouse indulgence. Certainly puts across the tedium of police work with langorous passages where we watch, wait and walk with the characters.More
An "inaction" cop film that's quiet, slow paced, and moody, Politist, adj. requires patience to allow the story to settle in and the characters to develop. There are many long takes during the almost real-time narrative of the film. The stake-outs come to mind. Heavy with dialogue, it slowly turns into a complex story that kept my attention until the very end. The lead character Cristi is our protagonist serving as a police officer questioning what is right or wrong during a new regime which hangs on to old habits.
The Romanian landscape is cold and industrial, so this is definitely not a film to promote tourism. The only other Romanian film I have seen recently is 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. I look forward to seeing more.
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