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Film Reviews One Floor Below: Radu Muntean’s thriller raises questions of morality

One Floor Below is a quiet thriller about domestic violence and the lies we keep to ourselves.

filmswelike/ONE FLOOR BELOW (2016).

3 out of 4 stars

Written by
Alexandru Baciu, Radu Muntean, Razvan Radulescu
Directed by
Radu Muntean
Starring
Ionut Bora, Liviu Cheloiu
Classification
14A
Country
USA
Language
English

The films coming out of the Romanian New Wave are not always easy to digest. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu; Trafic; 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days: These are profound works shaped by a rigid sense of realism, and often sad to the point of depressing.

But what else can you do when trying to escape the shadow of the Ceausescu regime? There's life, there's death and then there's the inexorable moral dilemmas that spring up in between – that's all that seems to matter, at least according to the genre.

Enter, then, Radu Muntean's new drama One Floor Below, which mixes subtle politics and morality in an expert, if discomfiting, manner.

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Muntean, a well-regarded member of the New Wave, sticks to the basics of his movement, constructing a quiet thriller about domestic violence and the lies we keep to ourselves.

In his tale of a would-be hero struggling to do the right thing, Muntean comes to no easy conclusions, nor should he: It's a film meant to leave audiences queasily stewing in their own moral juices, wondering what they would have done differently.

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