Polisse Movie Review

With a strong blast of real-life, this sprawling film explores the Paris child protection unit from every conceivable angle. Shot like a fly-on-the-wall documentary, the actors and situations are so authentic that it's often uncomfortable to watch.

The officers working to protect children in Paris form a close-knit team that deals with huge pressures every day. To survive requires a cynical sense of humour, a fiery dose of righteous rage and an ability to hold your drink on stress-releasing nights out. This kind of police work demands full attention and a lot of passion, but it also takes a personal toll: Nadine (Viard) has left her husband for her colleague Iris (Fois), and Fred (Starr) is both infuriated by and attracted to team photographer Melissa (Maiwenn).

The film is shot in an intimate style, with the cameras right in the faces of the cops as they banter in the office, let off steam after hours and dive into seriously tense situations, including a dawn raid on a gypsy camp and an undercover operation in a shopping mall. They talk nonstop, which makes reading the subtitles sometimes exhausting, especially as they dive into heated arguments about politics, policing methods and personal issues.

But throughout the talky chaos, the skilled cast is able to create complex, engaging characters, letting us understand the real-life strains these people live with. There isn't a weak performance in the film, and that includes a large number of child actors playing victims in the most horrific situations imaginable (including a couple of heart-wrenchingly emotive sequences), plus the adults who are accused of terrible crimes against them.

Nothing is ever simplified, so the film doesn't have a traditional narrative structure. It's an extended slice-of-life covering nearly a year, which means that it's rather meandering and aimless. This leaves it feeling much longer than its extended running time. Even though there are potent sequences along the way, as well as some underlying plot threads that take surprising turns, it takes a lot of patience to stay focussed through it all. In the end we're relieved we don't have to face this kind of thing in our everyday life. But we're sure glad someone does.

Cast & Crew

Director : Maiwenn

Producer : Alain Attal

Starring : , Joeystarr, , , Maiwenn, Karole Rocher, Emmanuelle Bercot, Fredeic Pierrot, Jeremie Elkaim, , ,


Comments

Polisse Rating

" Good "

Rating: 15, 2011

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