7.8/10
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1 user 3 critic

Law and Order (1969)

Also known as The Greater Good, this series of vignettes focuses on the day-to-day work of Kansas City... See full synopsis »

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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »

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Also known as The Greater Good, this series of vignettes focuses on the day-to-day work of Kansas City... See full synopsis »

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2 March 1969 (USA)  »

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The Greater Good  »

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Thin Blue Lines
13 February 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Frederick Wiseman's "Law and Order" follows the Kansas City Police Department as they operate in an area hard hit by violence during several 1968 race riots. The film's comprised of a series of vignettes, most of which see police, criminals and suspects paraded before our eyes. Wiseman's intention seems to be to simultaneously affirm and undercut social prejudices, the Law at times portrayed as being violent and oppressive, at others sympathetic and vital.

"Law and Order" won an Emmy for Best News Documentary in 1969. This was an era in which lighter film-cameras and portable sound equipment saw a boom in documentary film-making. Wiseman was one of many at the forefront of this explosion. Still, his "Law and Order" is mostly trite. The philosophical and ethical issues of American law enforcement, most of which are intimately tied to land rights, a burgeoning Western capitalism and other complex historical movements, go ignored. The end result is that Wiseman's supposedly "objective" stance unconsciously disguises more deep rooted injustices. His subsequent films would rectify this.

7.5/10 – Worth one viewing. See Jean-Xavier de Lestrade's "Murder on a Sunday Morning".


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