Police Beat is a highly unconventional crime film in which the protagonist Z is so preoccupied with his possibly unfaithful girlfriend that he never once acknowledges criminal world that swirls around him. The crimes Z encounters become mirrors of the his turbulent inner state, allowing him to philosophize about his unstable romantic relationship as well as his own development as an emotional being. While Z's regular interactions are in English, his thoughts the film's narration are in his native Wolof, the primary language of West Africa. In this way, Police Beat is an unusual portrait of an immigrant new to the United States that focuses less on the protagonist's socio-economic difficulties than on his emotional responses to American life. Written by
Police beat falls into the category of somewhat guilty pleasure for me, though certainly in a different way than most films typically relegated to that category.
It's a pleasure because being a Seattleite it's refreshing to see some of the cities lesser known but quite beautiful locations (gasworks park, for instance) shot beautifully on film for the first time. In addition I have to say that while an argument could be made that the African language narration was pretentious I found it fascinating, if for no other reason than that I always thought the idea of shooting an English language film with an abundance of subtitles would be an amusing experiment. There are also some rather funny scenes scattered throughout the movie, some of which work beautifully and others of which fail.
However it's a guilty one because plot wise it's thoroughly aimless and more than a bit pointless, acting wise it's very inconsistent, and overall it's a weak film. I have to admit a bit of a bias since I'm a volunteer at the place that produced and financed the film (nw film forum) and everyone around here worked on it in some way. The other reviewer's comment that just about everyone in the Seattle film scene worked on this movie isn't an exaggeration. In any case if you get a chance to see it I'd recommend you take it, if for no other reason than to see some beautiful Seattle scenery, a couple hilarious scenes, and more than anything a film experience I can guarantee you won't have had before.
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