7.5/10
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7 user 11 critic

Why Me? (2015)

De ce eu? (original title)
Cristian, a young idealistic prosecutor whose career is on the rise, tries to crack a case against a senior colleague accused of corruption. The dilemma of choosing between his career and ... See full summary »

Director:

Tudor Giurgiu
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12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Emilian Oprea ... Cristian Panduru
Mihai Constantin Mihai Constantin ... Procuror Codrea
Andreea Vasile ... Dora
Dan Condurache ... Procuror Iustin Petrut
Liviu Pintileasa Liviu Pintileasa ... Ionut
Mihai Smarandache Mihai Smarandache ... Serban
Alin Florea Alin Florea ... Bogdan Leca
Lucretia Mandric Lucretia Mandric ... Matusa
Sore Mihalache ... Alina
Ionut Caras Ionut Caras ... Rares
Virgil Ogasanu Virgil Ogasanu ... Procurorul General al Romaniei, Iovitu
Barna Bányai Kelemen Barna Bányai Kelemen ... Lajos Molnar (as Banyai Kelemen Barna)
Madalina Ciotea ... Elena Bontidean
Olga Delia Mateescu Olga Delia Mateescu ... Ministrul Justitiei, Liliana Boariu
Camelia Maxim Camelia Maxim ... Procuror Ilinca Penescu
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Storyline

Cristian, a young idealistic prosecutor whose career is on the rise, tries to crack a case against a senior colleague accused of corruption. The dilemma of choosing between his career and the truth weighs heavily on his shoulders. Looking further to solve the case, he enters a danger zone paved with unexpected and painful revelations.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One man against them all

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Romania | Bulgaria | Hungary

Language:

Romanian | English

Release Date:

5 November 2015 (Hungary) See more »

Also Known As:

The Dream Circle See more »

Filming Locations:

Romania

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Box Office

Budget:

€1,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie was inspired by true events. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Skimping on the Details
6 February 2016 | by tributarystuSee all my reviews

There is no doubt to me that the film is very well informed on what surrounded the real-life case of Cristian Panait and Alexandru Lele. The former, a young prosecutor in Bucharest, was pressured to initiate the criminal prosecution of the latter, a local prosecutor in Oradea. Lele had ordered the arrest of the son of a local party bigwig, on charges of being involved in a petrol smuggling ring. The political ramifications of the case were immense at the time, in an era that can arguably be identified as the worst for the rule of law in post-communist Romania, especially in relation to the complexity of the criminal/political machinations.

Tudor Giurgiu and Loredana Novak adapted this story into the semi-fictional "Why Me?". In doing so, they kept the core themes of corruption, political webs of interest and individual persecution, and molded them to fit a traditional narrative structure. What came out was the tragic story of Panait, here renamed Panduru, who is cornered into losing his mind while passing through cinematic stereotypes of political thrillers, rather than exploring the deeper roots of his anxieties. This leads to the crux of its undoing, creating a believable scenario where Panduru goes from self-confident to self-destructive within a time frame of a couple of weeks.

That is not to say that the movie is without merit. At times, it is a powerful indictment of powerlessness in the face of systemic corruption, as it effectively portrays the bullish hierarchical relationships that arise in certain bureaucracies. But as it focuses on Panduru, it has a hard time delivering an empathetic character - instead, we are served with Emilian Oprea's stiff and robotic interpretation, which occasionally engages, but never emotes. Moreover, Giurgiu employs several stereotypes and tropes you would expect from a Hollywood screenwriter/director, as lurid sex scenes of no obvious relevance and pointless mistresses spice up some unimaginative camera pans and shots, including the already classic downwards looking spiral staircase, which is complemented here with repeated battery removal procedures from some old school Nokia phones.

Perhaps I am being overly harsh, because it all comes together in a compact, competent, if rather undisciplined manner. But it is unusual to see Romanian films failing to be authentic in dialogue or setting, as what should be 2002 rarely feels farther away than 2015, while the bullishness doesn't have the expected bite. When it actually does work, like in the repeated use of the utterly condescending and demeaning expression of "boy", generally used by superiors in conversation with Panduru, you do feel the weight of the world on his shoulders, right there. It's just that the film lacks the fascinating depth that a proper analysis of the facts would have allowed.


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