One Floor Below | Chicago Reader

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93 minutes · 2015

Rudimentary settings, a scoreless soundtrack, and extended takes all locate this Romanian feature squarely within the "New Wave" of the aughts, but the story is pure Hitchcock: In the stairwell of an apartment building, a phlegmatic family man (Teodor Corban) overhears the attractive woman in the unit below his clashing with a married man from across the street (Iulian Postelnicu) and shortly thereafter she's found dead. Unwilling to get involved, the witness keeps mum during a police interview, but then the suspect neighbor uses his friendship with the man's son to insinuate himself into the family's home. Writer-director Radu Muntean (Tuesday, After Christmas) occupies his characters with trivial matters—the neighbor offers his tech-geek expertise to the son and presses the father for help with a car registration—but the weirdly ambiguous conflict between the two men eventually comes to a boil. Alexandru Baciu and Razvan Radulescu collaborated with Muntean on the script. In Romanian with subtitles.

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