Police, Adjective

2 out of 5 stars
Police, Adjective

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

Cristi (Bucur) likes his soup. How do we know this? We see him eating it. Quietly. He tears pieces of bread into croutons. He slurps contentedly, saying nothing. And why should he? There’s no one else in the room (except us mere audience members; don’t mind us). In a later kitchen scene, he tells his wife he likes the soup. There is yet a third eating scene to look forward to. Outside of his modest Bucharest apartment, Cristi waits in hallways for police reports—he’s a detective. He sits for minutes on end in stolid, post-Soviet offices until his superiors are free. He watches teens smoke pot and collects the butts. He waits some more.

Police, Adjective—the shockingly dull jury-prize winner of 2008’s underwhelming Cannes slate—wants you to string all these banalities into a kind of truth, something about the deadendness of procedure. Yet the movie’s didactic mode is a killer, a sorry excuse for audience punishment to achieve modest ends. This is not what the new wave of Romanian cinema, never this underdramatized, has been about. (Porumboiu had an earlier triumph with 12:08 East of Bucharest.) A final scene explodes the movie in a fiercely contemptuous scene of...dictionary reading. The lecture would be better applied in film school.—Joshua Rothkopf

Opens Wed 23; IFC. Find showtimes

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