- Director: Maïwenn
- Cast:Maïwenn , Marina Foïs, Karin Viard
- Release Date:June 28, 2012
- Running time:122 minutes
- Film Worth:$15.50
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
For the most part, the tough but heartfelt storytelling manages to transcend the melodrama.
Life for the officers of Paris' Child Protection Unit is tough. By day, they arrest paedophiles, console distraught parents, question elderly men with a fondness for "rubbing", and hunt down junkie mothers who abandon their children while sorting victims from attention seekers. It takes a hefty toll - nearly all of the officers are separated, divorced or in toxic relationships, with their own children inevitably paying the price for their protecting the public. Irony abounds. Enter Melissa (director, Maiwenn), a photographer on assignment to document the daily grind of the CPU. Her presence riles Fred (Joey Starr), the group's loudest wildcard (though all the characters in this absorbing drama are wild, each prone to explosive emotional outbursts). He rejects the perceived lens of Big Brother...at least, at first.
In narrative terms, Polisse borrows heavily from TV staples, with its assemblage of work and social lives to recreate the "reality" of the CPU. For every skirmish with a child molester, there's an equally emotionally charged encounter with a colleague or spouse: in the office, down the pub, in the bedroom. It creates ample opportunity to explore life on the front line, and fans of The Bill will lap this up. Polisse is not easy to stomach (witness a mother who gives her four-year-old to the CPU rather than make him sleep another night on the street), nor is the director's fondness for poking her camera into her characters' relentless disputes. Stress is evoked in endless, shrill arguments which overstay their welcome, overwhelming more interesting ideas sidelined by this enthusiasm for confrontation.
Comparisons to cop shows make it easy to dismiss this Cannes jury winner as elevated soap opera, but amid the familiar angles from countless police dramas, there are moments of cinematic wonder and heartfelt, hardcore storytelling which maintain attention on a rather noisy, mixed bag of a film.