Film Review – The Whistlers

SNACK at The Glasgow Film Festival 2020

The Whistlers

This twisty-turny crime mystery was nominated for the prestigious Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and was Romania’s selection for International Feature at the Oscars. It centres on corrupt cop Christi (veteran Romanian thespian Vlad Ivanov) who finds himself embroiled with gangsters in a drug money-laundering scheme. After cottoning on to the fact that his superiors have him under surveillance, he agrees to travel to a small island in the Canaries where he is taught a secretive whistling language, used by the mob to trick the police, whilst also getting involved with a drug lord’s seductive girlfriend Gilda (Catrinel Marlon). Writer-director Corneliu Porumboiu’s film is something of a puzzle box that delights in the audience scratching its head trying to solve, playing around with cinematic form and structure, cheekily aware that what you’re watching is a cops and criminals genre film you’ve seen umpteen times before. This makes it a tough film to crack, often as maddening as it is entertaining, but its breezy pace and all around playfulness keep it from tipping over into pretentious territory.

The Whistlers is out on June 26th.

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