One Floor Below

(Un etaj mai jos)
Romania/France/Germany/Sweden 2015. Dir: Radu Muntean. 93 min. DCP

“A slow-burn moral thriller ... One Floor Below quietly builds into a devastating portrait.”
LEE MARSHALL, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL

The Romanian New Wave serves up its version of the cat-and-mouse psychological thriller in Radu Muntean’s fine new film (the director’s fifth dramatic feature). After the murder of his downstairs neighbour, middle-aged Patrascu (Teodor Corban) realizes he’s witnessed events that implicate the victim’s boyfriend Vali (Iulian Poselnicu), also a neighbour, in the crime. Patrascu decides to mind his own business and not tell the police. Vali, however, is soon insinuating himself into Patrascu’s life, befriending his wife and son. Muntean’s smart, suspenseful, simmering film ponders questions of responsibility, privacy, guilt, and community as we — and Vali — seek to understand Patrascu’s motivations and moral calculations. The antithesis of the Hollywood thriller, it displays the restraint and naturalism, and the wry take on post-Communist life, we’ve come to expect from Romania’s remarkable contemporary cinema.

 

REVIEWS

“A lean, absorbing anti-thriller ... The drama is tightly measured to ensure a controlled level of tension that remains discreetly constant."

Variety | full review

“Mixes subtle politics and morality in an expert, if discomfiting, manner ... A film meant to leave audiences queasily stewing in their own moral juices.”

Globe and Mail | full review