„There are strains of Gus Van Sant’s Elephant and Cristi Puiu’s The Death of Mr. Lazarescu in the film’s 24-hour-ticking-clock structure, and Fliegauf mixes the foreboding backstory of one with the handheld, documentary intensity of the other to create an atmosphere that’s consistently menacing and strikingly realistic. Credited as both art director and composer (along with Tamas Beke), he builds a rugged backdrop of makeshift homes filled with rotted furnishings and piles of junk, while the minimalist score uses just a few chords to give the film its anxious undertone.
Such aesthetic prowess helps improve on what’s otherwise a bare-bones storyline that meanders in its midsection, only to gain some momentum toward the end. Because rather than shaping a traditional narrative arc, Fliegauf seems interested in depicting, as closely and carefully as possible, the subtle, silent humanity that lies beneath the prejudice and squalor. »There’s no point in shooting decent gypsies,« comments one of the cops, but the film inevitably proves how even the good folk are at risk in such a climate.
Relentlessly tracked by the director’s roving camera, the three actors — all making their screen debut — come off completely naturally, delivering minimal dialogue and revealing themselves through small moments of camaraderie. As the crafty and stoical Rio, Sarkany becomes the movie’s guiding moral light, and his final, open-ended sequence is one of both hope and despair.”