This summer Israel saw a large non-violent movement of social protest against the gap between rich and poor. There was a bit of a gasp when POLICEMAN came out, because although obviously written some time before this summer (moviemaking being the slow process that it is), it depicts a protest focused on the same theme and (like the real one) including a college-aged girl from a rich family as its spokesperson. The difference is that in the movie the movement is small and violent. Its members are shown as raising real problems (heaven knows the rich really are too rich and the poor too poor) but driven largely by personal issues and limited even in their conceptualization of their own plans. Against them is a team of police who are also not without a touch of ridiculousness-- always roughhousing, always exercising, not leaving the apartment without doing pushups first; in fact, there does not seem to be a single level-headed, normal-living character to anchor the movie. The sanest speech is perhaps a short harangue from one of the hated capitalists, and it offers no big solutions. At the same time, the film contains several scenes that seem to stop too soon or omit background information, while other scenes stretch on into extra moments, as if even the filmmaker could not hope always to be paying attention to the right thing at the right time. The result is a movie that does not seem to take anyone's side or promote any particular agenda even though it has intriguing and even strongly suspenseful moments and it arouses the feeling that something must be done. This is not the stuff that crowd-pleasers are made of, and it looks as if POLICEMAN will not be chalking up very many weeks on the big screen.
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