October 27, 2021
Alonso Ruizpalacios’ film starts off as an addictive cop show, breaks the fourth wall and then rebuilds it in a film bristling with ideas
A Cop Movie review – arresting Mexican docu-drama twists police film tropes
“Cops are like actors – you have to put on an act so people respect you.” The speaker is one of the police officers, or possibly actors playing police officers, in this startlingly clever and yet heartfelt docudrama about the contractual nature of power and authority from Mexican film-maker Alonso Ruizpalacios, who in just five years has established himself as one of the most potent talents in world cinema, with his new wave-style debut Güeros in 2014 and his true-crime heist drama Museum in 2018.
Now he gives us what looks at first glance like a conventionally gripping cop drama in chapter-length sections, about a couple of young officers, Teresa (Mónica Del Carmen) and Montoya (Raúl Briones), on the tough streets of Mexico City; they are partners, fall in love, get nicknamed “the love patrol” and then fall foul of the corruption higher up the food chain. Ruizpalacios gives his movie catchy music and bold graphics over the opening credits, making it look like an addictive TV cop show: but he also experimentally makes his characters talk direct to camera in a mockumentary manner and also lip-sync mid-scene to their own voiceover commentary on what’s happening in verbatim cinema style.
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