Police Screen 6 articles

Police

1985

Police Poster
  • At two hours, none of the scenes have the terse impact (or sardonically miserable wit) of We Won't Grow Old Together, no matter how much time Depardieu and various women spend in cars together.

  • What delights me about Police is how much play Breillat’s world view gives to Pialat’s style: how the disjunctions and paradoxes of the characters’ behavior provides Pialat with something approximating the fissures and gaps that he searches for when trolling through the raw data of his and his collaborators’ lives.

  • Pialat brings to life a teeming, high-relief throng of characters, including a coldly brilliant schlub of a crime boss, an old turnkey whose heart and mind are still in wartime Vietnam, and a fancy prostitute (Sandrine Bonnaire). Instead of movie music, Pialat adorns the soundtrack with a heavy-metal symphony: a revolver’s spinning barrel, the clang of a cell door, the dead snap of locks, the jingle of keys, and the dull thud of a desk top when struck by a suspect’s forehead.

  • It certainly helps that this is a rare Pialat film with a strong screenplay, but Depardieu’s juxtaposition of violent machismo and utter impotence is one that would come to characterize his career. One can be permitted to see in it an impertinent half-portrait by Depardieu of Pialat himself—one partly indulged by the director, so daunted was he by the actor’s talent.

  • Concerned with the relationships between cops and robbers, this is one of the few Pialat films that can be said to rest comfortably in a popular genre. (Incidentally, it was one of the director's biggest commercial hits in France.) Yet it's hardly a work-for-hire; the explosive, unpredictable interrogation sequences bear Pialat's unmistakable stamp, as does the brutishness of the main characters.

  • ++

    Sight & Sound: Nick Pinkerton
    March 31, 2017 | May 2017 Issue (p. 103)

    Pialat shifts tone on a dime here, and Depardieu is right there with him – the intimate moments when the besotted inspector seems to astonish himself by blurting out "I've never loved anyone" is the very quintessence of his tough-and-tender persona. The closing freeze frame homages The 400 Blows (1959)... But Pialat's film really belongs to a pre-New Wave tradition of French cinema, where police work is exactly that: work.

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