Feature

Polisse

Inside a Paris child-protection unit.

Directed by Maïwenn
(Not rated)

***

This “gripping” French police drama “plows through some harsh, horrifying realities with unflinching sobriety,” said A.O. Scott in The New York Times. Actress and filmmaker Maïwenn plays a wealthy photographer who embeds with a child-protection unit in Paris to witness its battles against the foulest crimes, including child abuse, rape, and prostitution. As a director, Maïwenn employs a “rough, ragged narrative structure and a correspondingly hectic visual style” to make her fictional chronicle “feel less dramatized than witnessed.” The movie “leaps from one crisis to another with an attention-deficit alacrity that occasionally borders on absurdity,” said Joe Morgenstern in The Wall Street Journal. “But what makes it such a singular experience is the convergence of fine acting, moral urgency, and a willingness to linger on moments of great intensity.” Not every story line works, but “the movie as a whole gets under your skin,” said Sheri Linden in the Los Angeles Times. Certain scenes, as well as the dogged justice-seeking central characters, “resonate long after the screen goes dark.” 

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