Just think of “Polisse” as a “Law & Order: Child Protection Unit” set in Paris, where you’ll hear these horrifying injustices perpetrated against children and meet the officers assigned to deal with these troubling situations.
Based on a documentary, this cinema verite drama features a group of detectives assigned the difficult task of bringing child molesters to justice, while comforting those who are abused.
You’ll also see how the officers blow off steam in their off-duty hours, hoping to regain some measure of normalcy in a troubling world.
The job takes its toll on relationships, friendships and requires a mental toughness some can’t maintain.
When the film focuses on the work and the children, it’s hugely compelling, tough to watch, but exceptionally riveting. When it strays to the relationship of a photographer and one of the officers, it loses that connection and is less powerful.
Oddly, there are a few lighthearted moments as the detectives hear one strange story after another. The teenager who readily exchanged sexual favors to retrieve her stolen cellphone was awkwardly amusing. She said, “But it was a smart phone!” The whole division erupts in tension-breaking laughter.
However, most of the situations are heartbreaking. The ensemble acting is quite good and the writing is frank and impressive.