In this nonlinear narrative, which abruptly, frequently jumps back eight years in time to glean moments from Sibyl’s former life and love, choppy scenes have the effect of disorienting, painful memories resurfaced, like picking up the disordered pieces of diary pages torn to bits.
No heroic Siegfried figure, Humberto is a feckless opportunist. And so his voiceover, which persists throughout the runtime, inevitably recalls the mobsters of Martin Scorsese, whose The Wolf of Wall Street Veiroj has cited as a conscious model.
The basic premise trades in the kind of casual absurdism that’s by now expected of Porumboiu. More surprising is the fact that The Whistlers plays much like a standard policier—a relatively by-the-book offering from a director who has distinguished himself by a willingness to throw out the manual.
Trouble has emerged at a particularly critical point for Northern Ireland, where violent sectarian tensions have been reinvigorated with the uncertainty spawned by Brexit. What Garnett’s film contributes is an acceptance of profound complexity in the face of belligerent binaries.