Police, Adjective

This Rumanian film played in US theaters briefly earlier this year and is showing on The Sundance Channel in August.  It’s a cop story about a cop who is trying NOT to catch someone.  The cop is a young guy who doesn’t want to ruin a teenager’s life by jailing him for a little hash smoking, especially when the kid has been fingered by another kid with designs on his girlfriend.  As far as the cop’s superiors are concerned, the informer has handed them some low hanging fruit, and they insist that the cop bring in the kid.  Here’s a first for cop movies – in the climax, a dictionary is brought into an office to facilitate a debate over definitions.

Long segments of the film are taken up by real-time trods through a grim industrial city for  surveillance and by the filling of reports with minute details.

I appreciated seeing a police procedural without chases and fire fights, but wasn’t sure that the payoff was worth watching so much tedious surveillance.

Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune pretty well nailed it in his review: “It’s not for all tastes; it requires some patience. The more your own job involves absurd, time-consuming bits of minutiae, the more familiar (and amusing) it’ll seem.”

Police, Adjective won a jury prize and the Critic’s Prize at Cannes and has a very high Metacritic rating of 81.

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