Thursday, October 28, 2010

Police, Adjective (2009)


Torn between his duty to arrest a teenage hashish user in his local district and the inevitable consequences it'll have on the teen's life, young police detective Cristi (Dragos Bucur) tries to hunt down the teen's dealer before he is forced to make the arrest.


Police, Adjective, the 2009 Romanian entry for Best Foreign Language Film, is a captivating tale about the battle between duty and conscious. Director and writer Corneliu Porumboiu beautifully captures a few days in the life of Cristi with a methodical precision, slow pacing, and wonderful use of single camera angles. 

Porumboiu's lack of constant cuts, and quick movements, adds an element of realism to the world he creates. The audience is presented with the feeling of being another member in the room, or on the street, with Cristi, as opposed to an omnipresent being. As Cristi becomes aware of things, the audience in turn becomes aware. Though what is most striking about Police, Adjective isn't its ability to shock and wow, as so many cop films try to do, but rather its dedication to the mundane events of police work.

Don't get me wrong, PA is not two hours of paperwork filing. What I mean is that while Cristi is doing a stakeout, we are there with him for event. Any suspicious vehicles he sees we see, any third party member coming and going we both investigate. When Cristi trails someone we're there through every street, turn, and staircase. If Cristi is interrupted by a dog walking by, so are we.

Cristi is handled wonderfully by Dragos Bucur, who manages to capture that sense of struggle without constantly flaunting it. Bucur and Porumboiu allow Cristi's struggles to reveal themselves in the way he treats others, especially his coworkers and wife. The moments of brief frustration and remorse. The way Cristi tries to get his mind off of work with conversations on music and grammar. Cristi's acts of self justification, and the audience's desire to sympathize with him.

The ultimate 'climax,' if one dares call it that, puts Cristi's beliefs to the test in a wonderfully intelligent way, devoid of any over the top action. Like the rest of the film, this climax is slow, taking its time to get to the point with a strict realism. For those who admire this type of story telling, Police Adjective is a perfect example of how effective it can be when used correctly. For those who don't, Police, Adjective will most likely be an exercise in patience and interest.

Slow, methodical, and dedicated to realism, Police, Adjective is an engrossing tale about the mundane actions and human choices that confront the Police every day. Porumboiu delivers a simple and straight forward tale that lacks the twists and turns of conventional narrative, maintaining interest through realistic characters and events.

Note: This film was watched and reviewed by birthday request of Brian's Film Review Blog. If you're celebrating a birthday and want to request a review let me know at or

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