Alonso Ruizpalacios’ A Cop Movie has ambition and creativity.
Netflix documentary A Cop Movie will be released on the streaming service on November 5, 2021.
At times, Alonso Ruizpalacios’ A Cop Movie has a spark of originality. A documentary fusion that has two actors begin not just to follow but forms the experience of immersion. They don’t watch but take classes within the Mexico City police academy. They find that training at the academy only takes six months. According to the actors, the remaining is not taken seriously by the students or the staff. Most are there just for the potential of steady money provided by government work. Everything is a business, and everything is a necessity. There is no for the greater good. You could call it a calling, which seems to be an American myth.
Ruizpalacios’ film started in Mexico City in 1978. Immediately, A Cop Movie starts with footage that has a look and feel of a documentary. Teresa (Monica Del Carmen) is a female police officer forced to deliver a baby because the ambulance has arrived in hours (when they eventually do, they want the woman’s placenta to sell to the female doctors). This is the last moment the first half has any look and feel of non-fiction work.
As the scenes progress, the film is acted out as if signing on to do Netflix’s updated Unsolved Mysteries. Teresa (Monica Del Carmen) and Montoya (Raul Briones) break the fourth wall. One officer sits in the backseat while she judges two fellow Federali’s napping on the job. Montoya has scenes of the latter’s comfortability with an LGBTQ+ parade. He openly states, even after training is complete, he hates cops.
There are many great dramas and documentaries on how the system has been broken in the past decade in Mexico. The Bridge, Narcos: Mexico, and Private Network: Who Killed Manuel Buendia, to name a few. Ruizpalacios attempts to blur the lines between fact and fiction and blur the lines of an immersive experience not only for the audience but also for the film’s principal players. It’s not quite real life, but it’s not a fake actor’s boot camp either.
The final product tries to be a cinematic Mariska doll that doesn’t quite fit when put back together. So, it’s an immersive immersion inside another immersion? A Cop Movie is not as original as that attempt. But great art is often not fully appreciated for years. Give Ruizpalacios credit for shining a light on a serious problem that has troubled Mexico for decades.
Let’s see how A Cop Movie is viewed in the years to come.
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