The Whistlers is a good thriller, but what’s really interesting about Corneliu Porumboiu’s movie is that it rivals similar blockbusters – even though both films are much different in scale.
The Whistlers is a tight noir that moves at a murmur. Movie goers are gripped by Cristi (Vlad Ivanov), a stoic policeman who loyally abides to his job but also willingly contributes to a heist his colleagues are investigating. He commits to this daunting challenge of multitasking as he cooperates with both sides and deters attention away from himself when needed. Porumboiu creates solid tension with drawn-out scenes of stealth, and he makes matters extra sleek with stylistic music choices paired with divine cinematography.
Now read that last paragraph back. Doesn’t it sound like your typical mainstream double agent fare? If you’re a devoted movie buff and enjoy this type of entertainment, I think you’ll really appreciate how Porumboiu has spun this dependant narrative into an unconventionally delightful package.
This may sound like a backhanded compliment, but the main giveaway that lead me to this comparison was the underdeveloped characters. These are intriguing people, but they’re mostly unmemorable with basic, recognizable skills (aside from Cristi). Perhaps Porumboiu (who also wrote the script) could’ve spent more time detailing his characters, but The Whistlers feels as if it was made for audiences who love espionage thrillers, not character pieces.
The story isn’t always told in an ideal way either. With its rigid pacing and frequent flashbacks, movie goers have to eventually figure out the film’s rhythm to comprehend it – this doesn’t take long. Funnily enough, the title comes from a coded language Cristi must perfect in order to go through with the heist. And following suit with the parallels, Cristi becomes fluent with the language just as the audience finally grooves with The Whistlers.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie