Police @ Cinemania

Being a cop today is tough…no matter what I think of the systemic racism inherent in that institution. I can’t imagine what it is like for a decent person trying to do that job. Too much is asked of them with too little training. But that is a discussion for another time and place.

Though it kind of relates to this film. Many of us, of late, have stopped seeing police officers as human beings. Human beings with troubles, flaws and lives outside of their time in uniform. A film like Anne Fontaine’s (Gemma Bovery, Coco Before Chanel) reminds us of the human being behind the uniform.

That is not to say that this is in any way a great film. It is far from that, but there is still value in watching it.

One day and night on the job for three police officers. We get to see it from each of their perspectives. Showing us the person behind the uniform. Virginie (Virginie Efira – Elle, Sibyl), Erik (Gregory Gadebois – Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life, Farewell My Queen) and Aristide (Omar Sy – Jurassic World, Untouchable) all work as police officers out of the same station. Each does the best they can do at their job, but sometimes their personal lives bleed into the work.

Just returning from her maternity leave, Virginie is back at work. That is enough to think about without having on her mind what she has recently found out. Virginie has a big decision to make. Erik, who has been a police officer for over 20 years, is having some trouble at home. He and his wife (Anne-Pascale Clairembourg – The Forest, Tamara) are not getting along. At all. Her behaviour wears on him. Aristide is a single guy, though he is obviously in love with Virginie, and worries about his mother, who is not well, and lives in another country.

During their day shift we get to see what they have to deal with. Domestic violence cases in which the man is abusive but the woman does not want to press charges. Makes you think what they see and do on a daily basis. Year after year. Who could handle that?

When the chief asks for volunteers to transport a criminal to the Charles de Gaulle airport so he can be sent back to his home country, the three volunteer for the extra time. The car ride is a tense one as the three don’t really see eye to eye on much. Things are made worse when Virginie finds out that if the man is sent home he will be killed there. The guilt begins to wear on her.

I liked the female perspective of being a cop. How she brought feelings and emotions into her job while still doing it well. She questions while the two men are okay with just doing as they are told.

The set up went a bit too long for me. Then the sudden switching from seeing the same incidents from each of their perspectives to another story which they are all embroiled in and happens in real time. Almost like I was watching two films. Or rather, two episodes of a television series. Didn’t exactly work the way it is done.

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