While I admired the one-day-in-David-Ayer-hell energy of the movie, I also found it bombastic and contrived. It’s the police drama as police baton.
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Ly rather cleverly inoculates his film to charges of repetition by outright owning them. Of course, you’ve seen stories like before. The film freely admits, these exact same stories, these preventable tragedies and pointless injustices have been manifesting themselves for hundreds of years.
Ly makes it hard to paint these characters in broad strokes, no matter how we might try.
The scalding final sequence of Ly’s film is powerful enough to obliterate the occasionally clumsy path by which it gets there.
Screen Daily by Jonathan Romney
For all its familiarity, Ly’s film is executed with enormous confidence and energy, building up to an apocalyptic ending that delivers on a gradual build-up of nervous tension.
The Hollywood Reporter by Jordan Mintzer
Heavy-handed and predictable in spots, yet engrossing and provocative in others, it’s an impressive if somewhat unruly debut
Los Angeles Times by Justin Chang
Ly surveys all his characters without judgment, but a longer, richer version of this movie might have distributed its sympathies to even more powerful effect.
Although the handling of certain plot dynamics on occasion isn’t as strong as its potent aesthetic finesse, Ly mounts a thriller operating as a savage indictment of social policies and underhand police tactics and ass-covering corruption.
The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw
The director may want to confront these issues head on – the racism and violence just below the surface. Indeed, raising it above the surface is the point. But much of the drama and humanity get blitzed by the molotov cocktails.
The Film Stage by Rory O'Connor
Ly makes a concerted effort to go beneath the topsoil of conventional Parisian crime films. Indeed, his script takes the time to show seemingly inconsequential things that go on behind the suburb’s closed doors, moments of rich contextual value if not obvious narrative importance.