The daily grind for the cops of the Police Department's Juvenile Protection Unit - taking in child molesters, busting underage pickpockets and chewing over relationship issues at lunch; interrogating abusive parents, taking statements from children, confronting the excesses of teen sexuality, enjoying solidarity with colleagues and laughing uncontrollably at the most unthinkable moments. Knowing the worst exists and living with it. How do these cops balance their private lives and the reality they confront every working day? Fred, the group's hypersensitive wild card, is going to have a hard time facing the scrutiny of Melissa, a photographer on a Ministry of the Interior assignment to document the unit. Written by
The French word for Police is spelled and said the same as in English. The title "Polisse" sounds like "police" and it is written as a child would do (the film is about the Youth Crime Squad in Paris). See more »
I had been looking forward to seeing this film and knew that it had gotten good reviews by critics who I respect. But after seeing it, I am not on the same page. My review may stand out on IMDb as in "which one of these is not like the other". I did not find it funny, nor thrilling, nor a triumph of acting. It's true that this is a star-studded cast, however, there is also a lot of overacting going on. What I saw made me wonder why such frat house behavior among so-called professionals drew IMDb user raves and 13 Cesar award nominations and a Best Film win at Cannes.
And then I tracked down Mick LaSalle's San Francisco Chronicle review and he gave me the perspective needed to understand this film. It is this: Maiwenn Le Besco was the model used for Natalie Portman's film debut (at age 12) in The Professional. Maiwenn came to the attention of that film's director, Luc Besson, at age 15 and had his child at age 16. It all makes sense when viewed through that lens.
The officers of the children's protective services unit often seem to not like children at all, let alone view their job as one of protection. They are unbelievably rude to children and adults alike, physically violent to the people they bring in for questioning, openly mocking & humiliating of adolescents who've been coerced into sexual acts, have a perpetual chip on their shoulder as to their wider standing within the police force, overreact to most everything, and seem to spend an inordinate amount of time having meals and drinks and evenings out with each other as a group. Many of the user reviews chalk this up to some sort of battle fatigue in a group who takes their job so, so seriously. It seems to me, however, that this is a group of people with open disdain for much of the rest of the population, and each other, and they seem to have the opposite reaction to specific cases as one would expect from a professional investigative officer: hysterically leaping en masse into a citywide search for a woman who has taken a child, perhaps her own, vs. lovingly telling the boy whose coach molested him that the man might one day return to coaching because prison time will have taught him that what he did was wrong. This only makes sense from the perspective of someone who has personal experience with her voice being diminished by those who should have protected her.
I notice also that some reviews comment on the ending making no sense and being really rather terrible. It is hard to know which piece of the ending they are speaking about but let me just say that, to me, that last bit with Iris was the most real part of the entire film. I totally understand every aspect of that. Especially with Mick's insight.
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