Precinct Seven Five


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Precinct Seven Fivee
"Oddly enough what is missing is tension"

The subject is shocking and yet to allow the leading players of this police corruption doc the freedom to tell their stories in the privacy of a film studio creates an atmosphere of easy come easy go as if their crimes were make believe and the joke's on us for giving a damn.

New York in the Eighties was "like a Beirut war zone". Cops talk of forging bonds with gangsters; they talk of survival. When there are 1000 killings a year in your precinct ordinary rules of procedure no longer apply. Why fight them when you can join them?

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Michael Dowd did a deal with the Devil, other wise known as Diaz, a drugs overlord of considerable influence. For a decade he and his partner Kenny were paid top dollar to warn Diaz of any police activity that might affect his $100 million business. In addition they engaged in burglaries as a routine bonus for being in the NYPD.

Eventually Dowd "went nuts" and became a cocaine addict and an alcoholic and by the end was dealing himself. Kenny backed off. He had a wife and kids. The temperature was too hot and his partner had lost the plot.

In the official inquiry that followed Dowd admitted everything. His honesty revealed a conflict of interests which may explain the apparent leniency of his sentence - he spent only 12 years in prison.

Tiller Russell's documentary makes little attempt to widen the scope beyond Dowd's fall from grace, not that grace has much to do with it. This is a Talking Heads production, starring Dowd (zero remorse), Kenny (a squidgin of regret), another cop (back up vocals) and Diaz (absurdly charming).

Oddly enough what is missing in this tale of allegiance denial, broken trust, naked greed, lethal violence and betrayal is tension. These men are good company. They smile a lot.

What do words like justice and respect mean any more? People are bought; lives are wrecked.

For real.

Reviewed on: 04 Aug 2015
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The real-life story of dirty cops who worked alongside brutal drugs gangs in New York in the 1980s.
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Read more Precinct Seven Five reviews:

Rebecca Naughten ***1/2

Director: Tiller Russell

Starring: Michael Dowd, Ken Eurell, Walter Yurkiw, Chuckie, Dori Eurell

Year: 2014

Runtime: 102 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


DOC NYC 2014
EIFF 2015

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