Film Micrœview #120: Law and Order (1969)

08.16.2014 § Leave a comment

Law and Order

Rating: Good.

Law and Order had me on the verge of tears by the end. Wiseman’s ability to humanize is so subtle and incredible. Yet it’s almost always reducible (ironically) to the idea that “it’s never that simple.” When Nixon cries out at the end for a total gutting and redoing of the police force, this is the pivotal moment of the movie (it is named for Nixon’s slogan), as the dramas we’ve seen play out thus far make it abundantly clear how this statement is utterly divorced from reality (though again Wiseman’s films do not reduce to “points” — the complexity throughout each moment is its meat). We’re all in this together. People are generally not out to destroy each other, but just to preserve themselves. Sometimes circumstances pit groups of us against each other. There may be generalities but every encounter is its own. We project our frailties on others. There are scenes in Law and Order where the officers’ actions are frightening (the scene with the prostitute, for instance) and there are others where it is hugely admirable. Just watch it.

Note: I watched this randomly while on vacation in Mexico w/o internet access. I had no idea what was going on in Missouri in the present day. Just a wild coincidence.

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