Irina is a 22-year-old Romanian woman struggling to escape her violent and domineering family. She lives with her sister, aunt, uncle and cousins. They run a hotel as a family business, but they come off more like gangsters.
I’ll be honest, aside from the two main characters, I had a hell of a time figuring who everyone was in this film. There’s Irina, an intelligent lassie who wants to go to Bucharest to study, but is constantly being discouraged and having roadblocks put in her way by her family. Her smart mind is something they can use in the business, and she already does all the accounts. Liviu, her cousin, a complete brute that beats the shit out of her constantly. He pretends she’s worthless, but takes her everywhere because he is functionally illiterate. There is Sergiu, who I think is her older brother, he runs the family and is the only person with any self-possession. Sergiu can’t have kids so has commissioned Liviu to buy him one, on the down low, which is proving a difficult task. And there is her sister Viki, who can occasionally be just as bullying towards Irina, but underneath genuinely has a heartfelt relationship with her. She has a secret lover, and it transpires, is secretly pregnant, something she hides for fear that Sergiu will take her baby.
What anybody else’s story is, I have no idea. This is not one of those movies that explains what’s going on straight to camera. You’re kinda just dropped in it and have to figure out what’s going on. And there are so many people trying to keep the truth from each other and posturing, because the family is such a mess.
Throughout the film you’re asking yourself, will Irina escape? And if so, how? And will it require her to play this game of violence and domination?
It’s a gripping drama. It just can get a bit confusing at times, as obviously nobody reacts in a normal, communicative way, but spirals off into dysfunction.