‘Polisse,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


Maiwenn Le Besco’s “Polisse” is tough and compelling, a police drama with no real plot but, rather, a snapshot slice-of-life of a group of Paris cops coping with what may be the most demanding assignment on the force.

They are the members of the Child Protection Unit, charged with investigating everything from runaways to sexual abuse. Their daily work brings them in contact with some of society’s saddest cases because their clientele includes its youngest, most vulnerable victims.

Le Besco, who also appears in the film, was inspired by a documentary on the real CPU. She interviewed its members, then cowrote her script based on the experiences she’d been told about. Her film encompasses the day-to-day lives of the members of the CPU squad, whose cases seem to come and go with surprising speed and disheartening regularity.

We see the squad members interviewing victims and perpetrators, coaxing or browbeating confessions or statements. A little girl will casually mention that, while bathing her, her father “scratches” her bottom. A teen offhandedly mentions offering sex in exchange for a cell phone; a mother dragged in for shaking her baby viciously in public says that her older son (who looks to be about 3) is easier to get to bed at night when she gives him a handjob.

In between, we get a taste of the interaction between the members of the squad – between the group as a whole and between partners. It’s obviously intense work, creating similarly fraught bonds between colleagues.

This review continues on my website.

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