Saturday 19 June 2010

Police, Adjective

I like a lot of Police, Adjective - the way it cleverly constricts and loosens time like an accordion (a stakeout seems to take a few minutes but is later revealed to have taken hours); the little comments, the playful and mordant cynicism, the mannerisms that ring true of everyday Romanian life, the self-deprecating jokes about the monikers 'Little Paris' or 'Little Prague'. 

Although Politist Adjectiv stays clear of the dark past, one feels that this is a nation that has managed to haul itself to the surface only to be left flapping on the bank.

Whilst any wider political points that may be being made are left as undercurrent to the main narrative flow, the film does appear obsessed with the idea of language (and the way the interpretation of meaning can influence the minutiae of our lives) to such an extent that every conversation is yoked to its examination whether such discussions appear organic or not.

Politist Adjectiv would seem to aspire to realism, or at least aspire to follow the modern cinematic norms of what is deemed realist – minimalist acting, unglossed cinematography and cool, distanced observation. Within that context the gradual burial of character beneath theme is distracting, building artificial meaning on a supposedly guileless foundation.

Early on, from the moment a character had declared a theory of sport to be "a law", I knew this was in clairvoyant anticipation of a full-blown, bona fide essay on language and law culminating in an onanistic, intentionally and unintentionally farcical scene of looking up words in a dictionary.

It is a shame given the compelling long shots that made up the investigation and the flickers of understated and intelligent humour that inspired the opening sequences. It is a shame given that it's a film that isn't just about the past or about a depressing present. It made me proud and then it disappointed me.