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TIFF 2019 Review: “The Whistlers” (2019) ★★★


In certain countries, police officers must be more practical than simply following laws. They have their own way of catching bad guys but are mostly corrupt. As for the language, they all learn new techniques to communicate with their counterparts and in the case of Corneliu Porumboiu’s film, it’s whistling that will be used but not for good intentions.

Cristi (Vlad Ivanov) is a policeman whose old friend, Gilda (Catrinel Marlon), asks for a favor – to free Zsolt (Sabin Tambrea) out of prison she intends to run away with, paying thirty million euros. At first, Cristi hesitates to even get involved as he is being followed by other officers day and night. As a way to communicate, Gilda asks Cristi to take the course in whistling provided by Kiko, a man who’s closely tied to the criminal world. Realizing the plan won’t be so simple to execute, Cristi makes a move that will cost too much to anyone who’s involved, including the prosecutor, Magda (Rodica Lazar), who has a close eye on Cristi himself.

Written and directed by Corneliu Porumboiu, “The Whistlers” is a decent crime drama taking place in La Gomera, one of Canary’s islands. It’s a dark but well-paced film that revolves around Cristi, his conscience, and the reasons that lead him to bond more with Gilda in order to free her from the dangerous world while putting himself into more legal trouble. But whatever the destiny has prepared for this man, one thing the viewer will never doubt about is that Cristi is not a bad man but rather someone who explores the new opportunity which he felt otherwise he would not get.

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