A colleague likened Police Beat to an Epcot Center attraction, a sort of despondent, blue-tinged DV diorama (seemingly scored to rejected cuts from Cliff Martinez’s Traffic soundtrack) detailing the introspective internal life of West African immigrant Z (Pape Sidy Niang), a Seattle bicycle cop with a chip on his shoulder about an on-again, off-again girlfriend. As he patrols his regular beat over the course of a tumultuous week, Z engages in increasingly distressed internal monologues (spoken in his native Wolof language), which starkly complement the various domestic disturbances and petty thievery that require his constant attention. All the on-screen transgressions are reportedly taken from actual Seattle police reports (Police Beat‘s co-writer, Charles Mudede, authors a weekly Police Blotter column for a Seattle newspaper), but they’re packed so tightly into the film’s 80 minutes that they play as increasingly ludicrous and unbelievable examples of community unrest. And in toto, they’re little more than a shaky dramatic skeleton contrived to support Z’s blubbering, paranoid emotional fantasies, which is a shame considering the character is an endlessly fascinating camera subject, in one sequence conveying a nearly Kiarostami-like perseverance as he slowly and determinedly bikes up a jagged park walkway reminiscent of a similar landscape in the great Iranian director’s Koker trilogy.
- WigglyWorld Studios
- 80 min
- Robinson Devor
- Robinson Devor, Charles Mudede
- Pape Sidy Niang, Eric Breedlove, Ingrid Sanai Buron, Sarah Harlett, Dennis Kleinsmith, Andy McCone, Anna Oxygen, Joe Shapiro, Michelle Sheiman
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