Romanian auteur Radu Muntean’s entirely skippable One Floor Below follows a car insurance salesman whose nosiness gets the better of him. After eavesdropping too deliberately on the couple downstairs’ fight one night, he discovers that the woman is dead. Before long, he finds himself being blackmailed by her probably guilty paramour who spotted him listening in. Though he spends the rest of the film doing his best to stay out of it, he’s already stuck his foot in it, so to speak, and he’s left to pay the price.
If only it amounted to anything! We watch him worry about his neighbour, lie to the police, and then wind up in a contract with that neighbor, which involves a lot of unspoken expectations. Unfortunately, it never feels particularly suspenseful or threatening, and we can’t help but hope he can sort out his neighbour’s car right quick so we’re able to leave the theatre. It’s a bit of a shaggy dog tale and quite a disappointment from this talented director. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqIeoY4NF-4] One Floor Below screens Sat. Sept. 12 at 7:45 p.m. at TIFF Bell Lightbox and Mon. Sept. 14 at 8:45 a.m. at Jackman Hall (AGO). For tickets and details, visit the TIFF website here.