Police | Chicago Reader


When Andrew Sarris suggested that watching Gerard Depardieu read the telephone directory would be worth the price of admission, some wag riposted that Maurice Pialat's Police was the place to test the theory. Well, it is and it isn't—the longueurs are there, but to insist on them too strongly is to miss the subtle penetration of Pialat's approach. Depardieu plays a French cop whose sense of legality roughly mirrors the criminals he hounds, and Pialat follows him around with unflappable resolve (the tremor in the tracking suggests a life perpetually on edge), exposing the links between criminality and police work without conventional moralizing, also minus the cynicism of the typical French policier (e.g., My New Partner, which wears its corruption like a badge). As the cop given to underworld longing, Depardieu's a study in shifting attitudes, and Richard Anconina's lawyer is simply shifty; both are excellent without a phone book, as is the rest of the cast: Sophie Marceau, Pascale Rocard, Sandrine Bonnaire (1985).

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