How’s your whistling ability? You may feel like trying to perfect it after seeing noted Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu’s “The Whistlers,” a crime film with the very odd plot involving the need for a detective in Bucharest to learn a secret tribal language that consists of whistling. P.S. The guy is susceptible to corruption.

Vlad Ivanov plays Cristi, a Bucharest cop who goes to La Gomera, a Canary Island, where the art of whistling as a tribal language becomes a key element in the story. The whistles may seem like bird sounds, but have the effect of communicating in a secret code.

The screenplay, written by Porumboiu, is packed with intrigue, atmosphere and action, ingredients for a good crime story. Humor bubbles along as well, but on balance, the film, although often enjoyable, is on the thin side and is not always believable.

“The Whistlers” is helped by a good cast in colorful assortment of roles. The acting contingent includes Rodica Lazar, Catrinel Marion, Sabin Tambrea, Agusti Villaronga and Julieta Szonyi. A Magnolia Pictures release. Reviewed February 28, 2020.

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