R.M.N. is as gripping and scrupulously humane as Mungiu’s admirers have come to expect from an artist of supreme discipline and dramatic skill. It’s one thing to be a master of mise-en-scene; it’s all the more impressive when that talent for detail — pictorial and behavioral — results in an illumination of the world that’s both ruthless and surpassingly compassionate.
What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
With bleak serenity of a man who has peered into the abyss and responded with a smile, the filmmaker offers no answer or easy way out to the intractable, and perhaps foundational, human capacity for hate than with his own virtuosic talent.
Mungiu doesn’t traffic in easy hero and villain narratives. He’s more interested in revealing how easily anyone can be both.
It is a work of patient yet painful observation that exposes how a community of struggling people can easily turn hateful.
Pulling harder and harder at the tension between complex socioeconomic forces and the simple human emotions they inspire, R.M.N. masterfully spins an all too familiar migration narrative into an atavistic passion play about the antagonistic effects of globalization on the European Union.
R.M.N. is more suspense thriller than procedural, and it’s content to have the audience walk on the razor’s edge of doubt and fear through much of its two-hour running time. Perhaps too content.
The power of Mungiu’s work is his writing. Like much of Eastern European cinema of the past decade, he’s crafted a morality tale that should prompt a viewer to take a look at themselves in the mirror wherever they may live. And if it ends without any hint of resolution? With barely a glimmer of hope? So be it.
R.M.N. is a slow-motion snapshot of a deeply riven community flying apart in all directions, as though some bomb, detonated years or perhaps even centuries ago, has never stopped exploding.
This is masterly understated filmmaking marked by a few stand-out sequences, particularly a one-shot town hall meeting that lasts for an entire reel and throws all the issues on the table before erupting into chaos.
Mungiu is a master of the long, talky slow burn, and if R.M.N. often feels less focused and more sprawling than some of his earlier movies (“4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” “Graduation”), that’s a testament to its expansiveness and ambition. The story becomes increasingly gripping as it meanders and lingers, broadens and deepens, putting peripheral characters into play and bringing latent hostilities to the surface.
It’s tribute to Mungiu’s bravura as a writer and director that, despite the fact that he never quite finishes unpacking a suitcase full of themes and ideas, R.M.N. is never less than an absorbing watch.
The tame and the wild roam through R.M.N., nipping at its edges, adding visual texture and deepening its themes.
RMN is a sombre downbeat movie, whose sudden flurry of dreamlike visions at the very end is a little disconcerting. But it is seriously engaged with the dysfunction and unhappiness in Europe that goes unreported and unacknowledged.
R.M.N. is one of the most searing cinematic examinations of xenophobia I’ve ever seen.
It’s a fascinating and utterly engrossing film, immersing us in this world, fretting over what we can see coming before the principals do, and relating it to the xenophobia and bigotry out in the open in America, just as it is in backward, rural Transylvania.