Police Beat

Police Beat


Reviewed by: George Williamson

"Who am I? I am a problem solver. Why? Because I have all these problems, and I am by no means alone. To live is to solve problems; that's the definition of everything."

Z (Pape Sidy Niang) is a cop in Seattle, spending his days riding around the city on his bicycle, while his request for a patrol car is "being processed", investigating the bizarre complaints of the general populace - from opportunist purse snatching, car-jacking and theft to rude tree assault, van assassination and budgie masturbation. But Z's main worry isn't the crime on the streets, it's his girlfriend on a camping vacation with her male roommate. Days pass by with no messages from Rachel; soon he starts to become a little paranoid, convinced that she's having an affair behind his back.

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Police Beat is a strange little film. Niang is stiff and wooden at times, but, at others, the flow is perfect. His continual narration in Wolof - a native language of Senegal - often forces the on-screen crime into the background - the real action is in Z's head. His constant neurosing about his girlfriend, Seattle and Americans in general distorts the angle on which we view the events. The muggings, assaults and misdemeanours cease to be random crimes; they become sociological phenomenon of the very strange world that Z has become immersed in, a world apart from his home in Senegal.

The rest of the cast also feel amateurish, but this doesn't detract from the film's strange charm, induced by the continual ruminations, captivating camerawork and entrancing soundtrack - featuring piano pieces by Eric Satie and ambience by Aphex Twin.

Police Beat has a dreamlike quality; the strange crimes, quiet voice-over and soporific music meld together into a fascinating - and often comic -experience, only lightly spoiled by somewhat rigid acting.

Reviewed on: 08 Aug 2005
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The life of a Seattle cop, who worries more about his personal life than city crime.
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Director: Robinson Devor

Writer: Robinson Devor, Charles Mudede

Starring: Pape Sidy Niang, Anna Oxygen, Eric Breedlove, Sarah Harlett, Elijah Geiger

Year: 2005

Runtime: 81 minutes

Country: US

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