Police, Adjective

Police Adjective is the new film from Romanian Director Corneliu Porumboiu. After the critical success of his previous film 12:08 East of Bucharest, Porumboiu tells the story of a disillusioned young police officer who is suffering from the banality and tediousness of his job as a police officer.

Cristi (Dragos Bucur) has been assigned the case of investigating a group of young kids who are using and dealing small amounts of drugs. Cristi acknowledges that the assignment is superficial and feels that his superiors are exacerbating the importance of the case in order to make up for the lack of real police work. Despite his discontent, Cristi goes on with the investigation of the case and we see the progression of a man who slowly becomes more and more distant from reality and begins to sever the connections from those around him. Through long takes and numerous dull moments we are shown a character study of a young man who tries to find some sort of escape from a desolate and restrictive world.

From the very first series of shots it is clear that this is not a typical cop drama. The film will not be driven by witty dialogue, intriguing shots, action sequences, or suspenseful gunfights. We are instead show the less glamorous side of police work, as we watch Cristi, follow, dead end leads, read over pointless clues and interrogate witnesses to no avail. We follow this character through every painstakingly mundane aspect of his daily routine and we realize that he, along with the “drug dealers” that he is chasing are nothing more that pieces in a much larger bored game of status and control. The film is in no rush to progress the narrative, simply because I don’t feel that one really exists. The case that Cristi is assigned is almost irrelevant, instead we sit with this character, as he eats dinner ( a static shot which lasted nearly ten minutes), gets dressed for work, talks with his superiors, argues with his wife, and reads over a note left at the police stations ( and infamous shot where the camera pans down the letter a pace so slow that the letter could have been read ten times over). Through this slow moving method the director is clearly trying to put us in the shoes of Cristi, to make us endure his boring and trivial life, but unfortunately as an audience member we are looking to feel sympathy for the characters, not empathy. Along with boring visuals the film is accompanied by sparse and uninteresting dialogue. There is no real driving force in the film and by the midpoint of the film I found myself being lost in whatever message the director was trying to convey. The only motivating factor in the film was the hope that Cristi would reach some sort of revelation; while he does do this the director executes it in a subtle, uninteresting and anti-climactic fashion.

Some positive of the film would be the cinematography which does a good job of capturing the bleak and desolate community. Dragos Bucur’s performance as the habitually annoyed and frustrated officer Cristi is also worthy of praise. He perfectly captures the essences of a broken man and does so without the support of a strong script or intriguing visuals.

An interesting characters study and a worthy attempt at putting the audience in the place of the character; Police Adjective is and honest and simple film, but its lackluster pace and repetitive imagery nullified me to the films message me.


About Author

Ed Yealu

Ed Yealu was born and raised in New Jersey and in 2006 graduated from Cedar Grove High School. He is currently a 3rd year TV/Video/Film major at Hofstra University in Long Island, NY. He has always had a passion for film but he but he decided to turn it into a career when he was a freshman in high school. He is actively involved with Hofstra’s Student film magazine High Angle. He has always had a deep interest in foreign films and foreign cultures and is always eager to learn more about the world. Doesn’t speak Japanese but is known to try. In his opinion a good night is best spent with a DVD a warm blanket and a notepad.

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