Star rating – 5/10
Whilst I totally accept that a film about the harsh realities of a Paris Police Child Protection Unit is never going to be light entertainment, I wasn’t really prepared for Maïwenn Le Besco’s perspective on this difficult subject matter.
Some of the acting is superb, with appearances from Nicholas Duvauchelle and Karole Rocher (better known as tough cops Theo and Roxane from the very entertaining but ultra violent police show Braquo). But the storylines they have to act out often feel like dead ends. The subject matter is difficult to watch at the best of times, but the film strikes an extremely dodgy note when it tries to make light of one young girl’s exploitation. What made it even more uncomfortable for me was that a significant number of the audience I was in seemed to find it hilarious in what felt to me a most inappropriate way.
There is a beautiful young woman photographer (played by the director Maïwenn herself) who is taking pictures of the unit’s work as an assignment. Her unhappy back story is mysteriously hinted at, half filled out, then left hanging in a confusing and unnecessary way. I’m not sure her character added anything to the story at all.
The police who work in the unit understandably have problems relating to the real world, and their various domestic relationships within it are something of a train wreck as a result of the horrors they have to deal with each day. But the plot feels like a mash up, with a seriously misjudged ending. This could have been an important and extraordinary film – instead it is just very unsettling.