Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Cops with a small town Texan attitude make it tough on petty criminals and anyone with the wrong look on their face.

"Am I charged with anything?"

Copy picture

"It can be arranged."

Essentally, this is a power trip, which the younger of the two, Francis (Bill Dawes), who has come in on a transfer ("I'm not a rookie"), recognises quite quickly. Emotionally bruised from a recent divorce, he is in no position to make an issue of it.

The older cop, Morning (Bill Sage), a Robert Redford lookalike, abuses the privilege of his badge in ways that humiliate and corrupt. He has lost sight of youthful idealism and just about everything else that has meaning in the history of good intention. His prejudices are fixed.

The film is shot in a documentary style, with too strong an emphasis on voice-over narrative. The script remains true to itself and does not fall back on sentimentality, although there is no running plot, rather a series of incidents.

This lack of a central story forces the emphasis back onto the relationship between the two men, which appears destined, at first, to end in bloody confrontation. Director Joseph Pierson avoids taking the obvious route, or emulating Dark Blue, with its theme of institutionalised corruption, and goes deeper into the complexities of human interaction.

EvenHand is a fine example of what low budget indy films do best, especially in terms of characterisation, and yet, despite genuine shocks, the pace is slow. Francis allows himself to be drawn inexplicably into the vortex of violence, remaining too much the spectator, while Morning glories in his ability to instil fear into the hearts of the almost innocent.

Reviewed on: 20 Aug 2003
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EvenHand packshot
A year in the life of two small town Texan cops.
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Director: Joseph Pierson

Writer: Mike Jones

Starring: Bill Sage, Bill Dawes, Lawrence Stringer, Io Tillet Wright, Ruth Osuna, Irene Peña, Hector Garcia, Kelley Saunders, Eduardo Cavazos Garza, Greg Bransom

Year: 2002

Runtime: 93 minutes

Country: USA


EIFF 2003

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