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France · 2011
2h 3m
Director Maïwenn
Starring Frédéric Pierrot, Joey Starr, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Karin Viard
Genre Drama

The daily grind for the cops of the Police Department's Juvenile Protection Unit - taking in child molesters, busting underage pickpockets, interrogating abusive parents, confronting the excesses of teen sexuality, enjoying solidarity with colleagues and laughing uncontrollably at the most unthinkable moments. Knowing the worst exists and living with it. How do these cops balance their private lives and the reality they confront every working day? Fred, the group's hypersensitive wild card, is going to have a hard time facing the scrutiny of Melissa, a photographer on a Ministry of the Interior assignment to document the unit.

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Variety by

Though rough edges are very much part of picture's fabric and charm, the current two-hour-plus edit is too choppy, with many sequences feeling rushed or underdeveloped.


The New York Times by A.O. Scott

The messiness of the film seems appropriate to its subject, which is the attempt to bring at least a measure of order - and even a touch of grace - to a chaotic and frequently ugly reality.


New York Daily News by Elizabeth Weitzman

If you're the type who unwinds by watching "The Wire" or "Law & Order: SVU," you might appreciate this grim procedural drama from French actress Maïwenn. There's no denying its power: It took home the Jury Prize at Cannes last year. But for most, Polisse will be tough going.


Slant Magazine by Jesse Cataldo

Polisse has been compared to "The Wire," but beyond a shared interest in the Sisyphean nature of police work, the two are mostly comparable as inverses of each other.


Time Out by Keith Uhlich

Polisse builds to one of the most hilariously misguided climaxes ever conceived; let's just say that this soapy symphony of squalor literally doesn't stick the landing.


Entertainment Weekly by Owen Gleiberman

The film can be rambling and glib, yet it's no mere crime drama. It captures a middle-class French society that looks more humane than ours, but is just as messed up.


Boxoffice Magazine by Richard Mowe

Actress and director Maïwenn Le Besco (a.k.a. Maïwenn) confounds expectations by drawing together a heart-thumping patchwork of dramas and emotions.


The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

The best moments of Maïwenn's Polisse, about the dedicated members of a Child Protection Unit in northern Paris, have the same quality, a fly-on-the-wall docu-realism that feels eerily like the real thing.

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