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Calin Peter Netzer’s Medal of Honor is bookended by arresting, single-shot sequences—one in a bedroom, the other at a festive table—but mostly, it’s just a movie about an asshole. 75-year-old Ion I. Ion is unappreciated and ignored by his wife and grown child—and not without good reason. But when Romania’s Ministry of Defense honors Ion with a medal for heroism during World War II (and Ion is fairly sure he did something kind of heroic during the war) his life takes on new meaning, even if, to his relatives and neighbors, he’s a terrible, unreliable, useless man. In other words, he’s not a very appealing character to follow, despite Netzer’s serious ambitions. It’s no accident that Ion shares his name with a Socratic sparring partner, who, in a famous dialogue, boasted foolishly of his talents after winning a prize for reciting Homer. The problem is that Netzer’s Ion isn’t some lovable loser who learns something about himself, while imparting some lesson about the transformative weight of history, or the psychic state of a nation still emerging from communism’s shadow. Yes, there is a lesson learned, and some deliriously funny slapstick moments along the way. Which does nothing to remedy the fact that, at the end of the film’s 104 minutes, Ion is likely the same old ass.