Police, Adjective


Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23

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Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    Police, Adjective is a deadly serious as well as dryly humorous analysis of bureaucratic procedure and, particularly, the tyranny of language. Images may record reality, but words define it.
  2. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    Porumboiu is one of the few helmers working today who so completely understands both the power of language and the power of visuals.
  3. 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.
  4. Yet another outstanding little movie in the exciting Romanian New Wave.
  5. A simultaneously realistic and absurdist examination of police work.
  6. 100
    The usual emphasis in a detective film is upended so that procedure, thrillingly, is more important than action. In its own way, this is one of the most intense cop movies you'll see.
  7. This cunning and provocative Romanian film requires patience, but its rewards are many: It's hard to imagine how a scene in which a police captain barks an order to bring him a dictionary can be loaded with suspense, but, really, it is.
  8. Although it's sly and sardonic, Police, Adjective is as rigorous as a tea ceremony -- or a Stalinist re-education camp.
  9. 83
    A clever, exceedingly wonky procedural about a undercover cop (Dragos Bucur) who quietly refuses to do what he's told.
  10. This intermittently terrific cerebral thriller does, indeed, hinge on the proper use of dictionary definitions, but the film is really about the oppressive blahness of small-town, postcommunist Romania. In such surroundings, parsing definitions can almost stand for high drama.
  11. 80
    The climax, in which the detective's commanding officer gives him a dictionary and subjects him to a sort of linguistic browbeating, is a marvel of dead air and unspoken oppression.
  12. Police, Adjective may not be the film you're expecting, but it's one that will stay on your mind.
  13. 80
    So much in this meticulous and moving film is between the lines, and almost nothing is by the book.
  14. 80
    The movie is simultaneously a police procedural, an analysis of language and imagery, a philosophical debate about law and justice, and a very, very dry Romanian Martini--so dry that, at first, one doesn't quite taste much of anything.
  15. Reviewed by: David Parkinson
    A riveting slice of Romanian new wave drama, haunted by shadows of the Ceausescu era and never less than thought-provoking.
  16. Though formally astringent, Police, Adjective is dotted with lots of humor.
  17. 75
    Its surprisingly effective key scene involves an argument with his captain over the dictionary definitions of the words "conscience" and "justice." This may not sound exciting, but it was welcome after legions of cop movies in which such arguments are orchestrated with the f-word.
  18. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Police, Adjective has considerable power, and the issues it raises linger in the mind.
  19. Director Corneliu Porumboiu ("12:08 East to Bucharest"), with his deadpan style and probing intelligence, is someone to keep an eye on. Using a minimalist style, and possessing the courage to risk alienating his viewers, he has created a movie full of resonance.
  20. Like a dark-comedy sequel to the masterful German film "The Lives of Others," Corneliu Porumboiu's Police, Adjective gives viewers a penetrating glimpse of surveillance culture, in this case as it plays out in post-communist Romania.
  21. 75
    For all the inactivity and resistance that mark the plot, there's beauty in the filmmaking and a kind of dazzling inevitability to the unwinding of the tale.
  22. The movie comes on like a put-on--next to nothing happens for an excruciatingly long time--and ends as a fascinating dialectic between following one's conscience or following the law.

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