By Katie Crocker
Inspired by her own time spent with the Child Protection Unit, French filmmaker Maiwenn writes, directs and stars in “Polisse,” a drama that examines the daily grind and personal lives of the officers working in the CPU in Paris.
But this isn’t your garden variety crime drama, instead, Maiwenn strives to achieve an honest portrayal of the officer’s everyday lives with a visual style and narrative structure that is just as messy and noisy as life can be.
Honestly, some scenes are a bit hard to watch based on the subject matter alone. The cases move quickly, picked off one by one, but the film treats it as procedure, almost sterile and commonplace, it doesn’t flinch or pause to focus on the grim realities of the crimes committed, and avoids emotion as the job would dictate.
It’s art imitating life.
The only problem is, while messy narrative structure can be conducive to authenticity, “Polisse” struggles to prioritize what moments it should hold still for or capture. A club dance scene doesn’t need fifteen minutes of screen time when you only allow two minutes to crack a case about a child being sold as a prostitute. It shouldn’t wander from a two minute martial dispute back to reigning in a crack head that ran away with a baby. These are sad truths and the longer the flick focused on the minute details of the everyday within a myriad of characters, the less I was invested and the less I cared about the characters or cases I knew nothing about. It felt too busy trying to be genuine instead and as a result doesn’t leave an impact.