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TIFF 2019 Review: The Whistlers

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In order to learn the whereabouts of two mattresses containing millions in cash while under surveillance, a corrupt police officer learns an Indigenous language based on whistling in order to communicate to his accomplices.

A police officer travels to the Canary Island of La Gomera to be taught how to communicate via whistling; at first the endeavour seems to be rather quirky but soon everything starts to make sense.  A businessman is in police custody who knows the location of a pair of mattresses containing millions of dollars and local gangsters want to orchestrate his escape so to interrogate him with the help of the police offer who turns out to be corrupt.  The whistling will enable the criminals to communicate with each other undetected while under surveillance.   Needless to say, that with so much money at stake there is no honour amongst thieves.

For a unique premise, filmmaker Corneliu Porumboiu makes the most of the whistling with a major payoff in the end.  Catrinel Marlon embraces the femme fatale role of Gilda and stems up the screen with her presence; a love scene that knowingly takes place under surveillance is funny as she swats away overeager hands from her breasts but is still able to fake having an orgasm.  The narrative is disjointed as it is not completely clear as to the timeline of events.  Characters keep getting introduced with various chapters being introduced under their different names.  The end result is that this feels like a Pulp Fiction wannabe without the same style or verve of Quentin Tarantino.

Check out all of our TIFF coverage
Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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