Power (2024)

Power (2024)

A highly informative but ultimately flat account of the history of policing in America

6.9

Movie

United States of America
English
Documentary
2024
YANCE FORD
88 min

TLDR

I will happily watch this in a history class, but not necessarily in a movie theater.

What it's about

Examines how law enforcement developed in America, and why it’s inextricably linked to violence, brutality, and power.

The take

Who polices the police? It’s an age-old question that’s nowhere near finding an answer, especially in America where law enforcement is deeply rooted in racism and violence. But this documentary by Yance Ford is a noble and ambitious attempt to answer that. It features multiple scholars who weigh in on the history of America’s police force, which evolved from sheriffs who displaced Native Americans to slave patrols who controlled African Americans and, later on, to troops who broke up protests held by the working class. The documentary is heady with ideas, but sometimes it feels like it’s taking in more than it can tell. The scholars, as cerebral as they are, sound like they’re going in circles the way the film is edited. And though Ford occasionally breaks these talking heads with poetic ruminations of his own, the documentary could benefit from a more focused, personal, and imaginative take. As it is, Power feels more like an informative but flat history lesson, instead of a powerfully moving social film.

What stands out

The film is enriched by its use of rare archival footage and scenes from old films like Beast of the City.

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