The Force Screen 80 of 5 reviews

The Force

2017

The Force Poster
  • It is a keen reminder of how direct, “fly on the wall” cinema produces the mere illusion of insider knowledge and can hold a lot of secrets, the film shifting from a detailed examination of successful police reform to a sickening satire of bureaucracy and power run amok.

  • Nicks has a style that is both experiential and ethereal: From its ground-level immersion in the minutiae of police work to its sweeping helicopter shots of the city at night, The Force has the texture of a Michael Mann film combined with the clarity of a Frederick Wiseman documentary. I could have watched it for hours more, and I wonder if it would work better at a greater length; it’s so absorbing that I wanted more.

  • Considering the difficulty of maintaining the neutrality of his position, Nicks manages fairly well, humanising the individual officers who adhere to their duties, whilst condemning the institution that has markedly, criminally, and continuously, failed to.

  • I do appreciate The Force‘s urgency and thoroughness: if you haven’t been paying attention to police brutality-related news these last few years (and you really should be), this would make for a good synoptic primer. The lesson is summarized by a priest who acts as a community liaison: “The past has run up an incredibly high bill.” And, of course, the past’s not even close to being past.

  • Nicks’s previous documentary, The Waiting Room, is a more satisfying but less searching look at an enduring institution, the American emergency room, perhaps because of its smaller canvas. It wouldn’t be kind or accurate to say that Nicks bit off more than he could chew, but the movie feels as confused as the rest of us about what to make of the state of American policing and just what can be done to make it an unassailably honorable profession.