Combustible Celluloid
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With: Dragos Bucur, Vlad Ivanov, Irina Saulescu, Ion Stoica, Marian Ghenea, Cosmin Selesi, George Remes, Dan Cogalniceanu, Serban Georgevici, Costi Dita, Alexandru Sabadac, Anca Diaconu, Radu Costin, Viorel Nebunu, Emanoela Tigla
Written by: Corneliu Porumboiu
Directed by: Corneliu Porumboiu
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Language: Romanian, with English subtitles
Running Time: 113
Date: 05/15/2009

Police, Adjective (2009)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The Romanian New Wave continues at full force with this second film by director Corneliu Porumboiu (12:08 East of Bucharest). Police, Adjective is a less obvious comedy than the director's previous film, and it's a good deal drier and slyer. You could start by calling it a police procedural, but here it's all procedure and hardly any police.

Cristi (Dragos Bucur) is following a group of schoolkids, trying to determine whether any of them are selling drugs, and if so, where the drugs are coming from. He spends his days waiting around, picking up and sniffing cigarette butts and filing reports. He orders background checks at headquarters and waits all day while the various departments catch up to one another. His superiors want him to do a "sting" operation and nail everyone, but Cristi doesn't want to send some kids to jail and ruin their lives just for a little recreational drug use (he thinks the laws are going to change soon). At home, Cristi eats dinner and/or fights with his wife Anca (Irina Saulescu), and some of their conversations have to do with word usage. (The title refers to the use of the word "police" not as a noun, but as a description.)

All of this moves toward a totally unexpected ending, having little to do with the drugs or the sting operation. Cristi and a partner wind up in front of a superior officer (Vlad Ivanov), and his reactions and responses to Cristi will either baffle audiences or make them laugh. Indeed, for those that get it, the movie is a huge, dry joke, cleverly executed. Not everyone is going to get it, but you have to admire a movie that gets made in spite of that.

In 2011, Zeitgeist and Kimstim released Police, Adjective on DVD only (no Blu-Ray yet). A liner notes booklet includes an interview with the director. The disc itself has a trailer.{subid}&url=hitlist.asp?searchfield=marvel
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