6.6/10
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ACAB - All Cops Are Bastards (2012)

A look at the controversial riot cops unit, told through the stories of three veteran cops and a young recruit.

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A look at the controversial riot cops unit, told through the stories of three veteran cops and a young recruit.

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A gritty depiction of life in the Italian Police force.
4 November 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I have to admit, when I first grabbed this, it was on a recommendation from someone else, and I knew nothing about it at all, other than it was about the Police. What I got was a rather warts and all depiction of the lives of four Riot Squad Police Officers. The story begins with a new recruit joining the ranks who comes from the gutter himself, frequenting with the character types that the rest of the squad normally find themselves up against. The other topic that is explored heavily here is immigration and themes of patriotism and racism. Many layers of this are looked at and the film is especially clever at depicting the thin grey line between characters who are wanting Italy to turn to days of old and those who wish for the same but put the blame on the immigrants. Other subplots involve one character who is going through a messy divorce from an interracial relationship, another has his son joining the Italian equivalent of the National front while a third is on charges of brutality while the rookie seems to have an alternative motive for wanting the join the force. What the film lacks in a central plot thread it makes up for with its raw portrayal of these mens lives. The biggest problem might in fact be that you find it hard to sympathise with any of these characters as none of them are especially likable. On other films this would be more of a problem, but in this movie it doesn't stop you from getting into the story, because their lives are so compelling and while you may not like their characters you gradually have an understanding of where their anger comes from as your given an insight into their complex role they have to fulfil while balancing their personal and professional lives. Politicans do not give off lightly, using the police to resolve problems of their own making and then barely treating them any better than the people they often are in conflict with. They ultimately take the law into their own hands to resolve some grievances making me wonder how much such things really do go on.

Its not an easy watch, but its worthwhile, and as someone else said, even if you don't agree with the directors political stance (I'm not sure what it was, as the protesters and hooligans aren't portrayed in a good light either) its a well made film with sterling performances from the four leads. This is a side to Italy that we wouldn't normally see. All Cops Are Bastards, perhaps so, but they're human just like the rest of us.


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