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If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle review

A fresh spin on the prison-hostage drama

Romanian writer/director Florin Serban’s taut debut offers a fresh spin on the prison-hostage drama. On the verge of being released from a rural correctional facility, teenager Silviu (George Pistereanu) is driven by family woes to take captive trainee social worker Ana (Ada Condeescu).

Serban owes a debt to the Dardenne brothers (naturalistic sound, back-of-the-head shots), but maintains a sense of despair even as the plot skews in a derivative direction. Meanwhile, Pistereanu mines a fine, compelling blend of menace and innocence.

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Available platformsMovie