delivers his feature debut with this slightly absorbing drama that is a slow-tension builder which cinema-goers will either embrace or be repelled by as the foreboding crime story progresses. The tone of the film is perfectly set-up in its openin frames as we fade in from black to a tracking shot that takes its time moving across a swamp before it slowly focusses in on a bubbling area of water, where after quite some time, the shocking image of a severed foot surfaces very briefly, before the screen cuts to black and gives us the title card.
plays in Un Certian Regard at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and focusses in on the character of Roman (Dragos Bucur), who has been left a huge plot of countryside, near to the Romanian-Ukrainian border, by his late crime lord grandfather. Intending to sell off the rural land, Roman runs into a bit of trouble when he discovers that still living on it are a bunch of his granddad’s villanous deputies, all of whom are unwilling to let the sale go through. What follows is a 100 minute slow burner that broods and bubbles under the surface until a bloody climax that truly shocks when it finally reaches the boil.
With its obvious similarities to the work of the early Coens, Mirica’s film, which he also wrote, struggles from the same issues as a lot of the other films we’ve seen playing here in Cannes this year. It spends too much time in its set-up, and delivers far too late on its early promise. The final reel is pretty decent, dark, edgy stuff, and when the blood does start to fly, our interest actually increases. Some of the audience didn’t quite agree as a few members of the press walked out of our screening when a hammer was put to a particular use in the front of a moving Land Rover.
The film all looks very nice (cinematographer Andrei Butica
’s work is superb actually, setting the intended mood of the piece perfectly), the acting also certainly very good, but overall it just lacks any kind of intensity, and by the time the credits roll, we feel largely unfulfilled, which is a real disappointment as it could have been so much more.
Not a complete let-down on any level, as there is some good stuff to take away from the film. Butica shows promise in this early work, and he remains one to keep an eye on in the future.