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Politist, adj. (Police, Adjective) (2009)



Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 23
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 1,484

My Rating

Movie Info

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

Jun 1, 2010


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All Critics (75) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (57) | Rotten (16) | DVD (3)

Necessarily infuriating but finally very rewarding.

September 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An absorbing and contemplative detective story in which the high point of the action involves reading from a dictionary. Really.

March 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's unlike anything Hollywood would dare to make.

February 4, 2010 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Porumboiu's style is steady, observational, his camera tracking Cristi along the streets in much the way Cristi tracks his subject.

January 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

January 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

January 25, 2010 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

June 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

Intellectually and aesthetically Police, Adjective is a film of merit but that doesn't make it any easier to endure.

October 11, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

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.

October 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

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.

October 6, 2010 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

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.

October 4, 2010 Full Review Source: Scotsman

The insidious humour and fascination with moral quandaries keep it consistently engrossing.

September 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

This whole film is very "police": that is, not exciting or dramatic, but suspicious, cynical and exhausted.

September 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Guardian

Complex, intellectually rigorous and yet incredibly enjoyable on multiple levels.

September 30, 2010
Little White Lies

Porumboiu's film is proof that a police procedural can be compelling even without the genre's usual maverick sleuthing or combustible action.

September 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

A riveting slice of Romanian new wave drama, haunted by shadows of the Ceausescu era and never less than thought-provoking.

September 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A "police procedural" with a difference: the policeman hero refuses to proceed.

September 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

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.

July 4, 2010 Full Review Source: DCist

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.

June 4, 2010 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Law and order overbalance liberty in a police, adjective, state

May 31, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

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.

May 11, 2010 Full Review Source: Looking Closer
Looking Closer

click to read full review

March 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

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.

March 17, 2010 Full Review Source: Seven Days
Seven Days

For all the inactivity and resistance that mark the plot, there's beauty in the filmmaking and a kind of dazzling inevitability to the unwinding of the tale.

March 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Oregonian

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.
December 11, 2012

Super Reviewer

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.
April 17, 2011
Gordon A

Super Reviewer

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.

August 18, 2010
El Hombre Invisible

Super Reviewer

This Romanian film is definitely not for everyone, considering all its peculiar directing style and sluggishly slow pace, but those willing to sit through it will find a thought-provoking, morally challenging story with a particularly outstanding final act.
June 4, 2010

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Police, Adjective (DE)
  • Police, Adjective (Politist, adjectiv) (UK)
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