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Review: The Whistlers (La Gomera)

A beautiful woman. 30 million euros. A detective who’s tired of his job. All the elements of a classic thriller are present in this Romanian film noir. Cristi (Vlad Ivanov) is a cop in Bucharest. Gilda (Catrinel Marlon) is the femme fatale whose boyfriend Zsolt (Sabin Tambrea) is behind bars and knows where the money is hidden.  To that end she enlists the not so honest cop in a scheme that involves traveling to the Canary Islands to learn a whistling language called El Silbo Gomero that was invented by the locals and is used by the mobsters to communicate without the cops being able to understand. The plan is to use it to get the boyfriend out and make off with the dough. But of course, Cristi falls for the dame, and things don’t go exactly as planned.

The film jumps around in time starting as Cristi arrives on the island. But in flashback we see that Gilda came to him earlier and because he told her there were spy cameras in his apartment, like everywhere else in Bucharest apparently, she ended up sleeping with him to cover their meeting. Later she tells him, “Forget what happened in Bucharest. I did it for the surveillance cameras.” But it’s clear that he’s fallen for her. On the island he meets a whole gang of mobsters and they’re grooming him to go back to Romania and help them spring Zsolt.

You never really know what Cristi’s motives are. He plays the decent cop, refusing to cross the line when his boss asks him to. But he also gets in bed (figuratively) with the mob. There are so many twists and turns in the film that I’m not exactly sure what happened all the time, but it does keep you entertained with beautiful locations, well drawn characters, a bit of violence here and there, and a great soundtrack.

The film is currently streaming, since it was due to open this week. Check here to find your local theater. A portion of all streaming revenue is going back to them to keep our local indie theaters afloat.

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