Romanian film-maker Corneliu Porumboiu dispenses with the miserabilism associated with his country’s cinema in this tart romp about a tangle of double crossings. Cristi (Vlad Ivanov) is a dirty cop from Bucharest embroiled in a money-laundering scam in La Gomera (“the pearl of the Canary Islands”, a tannoy announces). “Forget what happened in Bucharest,” purrs Gilda (Catrinel Marlon), greeting him on arrival. “It was just for the security cameras.” A flashback showing the act she’s referring to is hardly a clarification. A cigarette dangling from her lips, she’s a classic femme fatale. She both assists and distracts.
But Cristi too is being monitored; to avoid detection from his boss, Magda (Rodica Lazar), he must learn “Silbo Gomero”, a whistling language peculiar to the Canaries. Scenes of his lessons prove that he’s not exactly a natural, and are a showcase for writer-director Porumboiu’s acidic sense of humour. From Tudor Mircea’s citrus-bright cinematography to the judicious use of Iggy Pop’s sunshiney 1977 track The Passenger, everything about this comedy-drama pops and snaps. Also zesty are Porumboiu’s nods to classic Hollywood, via references to Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford and even Charles Victor (I should think it’s no coincidence this film’s lady in red shares her namesake with the title of his 1946 noir).
Source: The Guardian