Daily Dose Pick: Police, Adjective

Corneliu Porumboiu’s Police, Adjective brilliantly and clinically inspects language, bureaucratic runarounds, and the conscience of one noble, in-limbo cop.

Porumboiu sets this downtempo policier in his hometown of Vasliu, where plainclothes Cristi trails a student who supposedly slings hash. During the dry, real-time takes, Cristi follows his suspects, while hoping his bullheaded superior will turn the other cheek for the minor offense, rather than define it as a life-ruining crime.

Therein lies the rub, with words and their meanings remaining as gray as the post-communist landscape. All of the fact-gathering eventually leads to a commanding third act, in which Cristi and his almighty captain have it out, with the aid of a few case-closing definitions.

Read an in-depth discussion with Porumboiu, watch the New York Times‘ brief interview with the young director, and digest A.O. Scott’s 2008 look-see at the Romanian New Wave.