The Unsaved

2013 [ROMANIAN]

Action / Drama

3
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 40%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 40%
IMDb Rating 6.7/10 10 545 545

Top cast

720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
728.8 MB
1280*536
Romanian 2.0
NR
ro  
24 fps
1 hr 19 min
Seeds ...
1.46 GB
1920*804
Romanian 5.1
NR
ro  
24 fps
1 hr 19 min
Seeds ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bosu_rares 7 / 10

Evolution or Otherwise?

I would like to begin this review by stating that I am no fan of Romanian "new cinema" (a.k.a. "films of squalor and despair", as one of my colleagues so neatly nailed them), so my review may be biased.

Igor Cobileanski is well-known to the Romanian public, first for his absolutely brilliant humorous shorts, available on YouTube, then for his witty comedy "Tache, the Old Grave Digger", which I wrote a review of. It was a question of "when", not of "if" he joins the mainstream of today's Romanian film, which sadly breaks off with a glorious and brilliant tradition in search of pleasing Western audiences.

His new film "The Unsaved" (or, literally translated from Romanian "The Sky's Lower Border") is precisely this: an attempt to join the rest of Romanian young directors. His efforts were backed up by fellow director and screen writer Corneliu Porumboiu (who, I suspect, is responsible for the too often naming of human genitals throughout the film), and this is felt in the agonizingly slow pace and the deliberately plain dialogue. Fortunately, Mr. Cobileanski manages to slip in a few lines of sarcastic humour and adds to the depth and substance of characters, as well as to the authenticity of the atmosphere. For me, it's a haunting re-creation of the 80's, only translated into neighbouring Moldova, with signs and firms written half in Romanian/Moldavian, half in Russian, and Russian-made cars (plus a few lines of dialogue spoken in Russian, supposedly with a Russian mafia guy).

The main character, Viorel (whose very name suggests innocence) is not so much a "Sancho Panza" as an odd mixture of naiveté and violence, of good intentions and bad influence (typically what Americans would call a "schmuck"). The actor Igor Babiac, who I suspect is well-known in Moldova, is very credible in this role, despite pretending he is 19, when in fact he looks 30. A very pleasant surprise is his supporting actor, Sergiu Voloc, who manages to play the unrepentant villain so well that he actually steals the scene a few times (and that comes after having watched his portrayal of an idiot-turned-inspired village policeman in one of Mr. Cobileanski's first shorts - "Inspiration"). Ela Ionescu is excellent as a slut with no sex-appeal, who only accepts Viorel because she feels sorry for him, and who sleeps with the local chief of police in order to get her boyfriend out of prison. The idea that "weed" can be delivered into the post-box without anyone suspecting it is quite surprising and, frankly, not credible (although, perhaps the police are also part of the whole scheme). The rest of the supporting actors are playing very well, notably Viorel's mother, who has a hard time keeping a no-good son as a single parent; the chief of police, who is actually benevolent and wants to help Viorel out of an idle and drifting life; a little gem of a role is the chef at the local canteen, Viorel's boss (who I pleasantly remember as a village mayor in the same short I mentioned before).

In conclusion, the film is definitely worth seeing, especially for those interested in Mr. Cobileanski's progress (or is it?). But please, please, Mr. Cobileanski, find your own voice and do not howl in unison with a bunch of wannabes!

Reviewed by besserglik 8 / 10

Moldova between hope and despair

A decent effort by this first-time director who well deserved the FIPRESCI (international critics) prize that the film won at the Cottbus (Germany) festival in October 2013. This is a full-frontal presentation of the difficulties involved in growing up in one of the poorest countries in Europe, but one which avoids falling into the trap of misérabilisme. Cobileanski achieves a fine balance between hope and despair despite the film's downbeat ending, and the film's characters are depicted with a degree of sympathy that precludes caricature. The Unsaved does not seem to have had much of a commercial career to date (June 2014) but it deserves a wider audience, at least at festivals.

Reviewed by sps-70659 7 / 10

Worth a Watch

Generally endorse the review here by Besserglik. The short length keeps it from overstaying its welcome, and the performances are great.

At time of review, 2021, you could find this one on Kanopy.

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