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This Week's Film Reviews (March 19, 2021)

03 Feb 2021



ENFORCEMENT (Shorta) (Denmark 2020) ****
Directed by Anders Olholm and Frederik Louis Hviid 

SHORTA is the original title of this tough no-nonsense cop thriller now re-titled ENFORCEMENT.  Shorta is Arabic for Police.  The film could very much be a follow on, of last year’s excellent French film on the similar theme of police brutality and youth riots as seen in Ladj Ly’s LES MISERABLES.   

The film opens with an Arab suspect, Talib Ben Hassi, given a choke hold by the police, he is hospitalized after, thus creating an atmosphere of racial tension.  The Arab’s words are: “I can’t breathe,” identical words to those uttered in the States last year in the Rodney King incident, by coincidence.  As one can see, the film is right out of today’s headlines, only that the story is set in Denmark.  In this film, the Arabs are the ones victimized by the police compared to the blacks in the United States.  Other minorities are also brought into the picture.  A Pakistani who owns a grocery store complains that the cops do nothing when he calls for help when being harassed by the Arabs.

LES MISERABLES ended with the words: There are no bad people, just bad rearing.  These words are echoed in the theme of Anders Olholm and Frederik Louis Hviid’s action packed police action drama where an Arab youth troublemaker, Amos (Tarek Zayat) is having problems being controlled by his apparently single mother living in the Arab ghetto.   The two cops that arrest him for throwing a milkshake at their cruiser are over-the-edge, too quick into action, Mike Andersen (Jacon Lohmann) and his partner for the day, a more sympathetic Jens Hoyer (Simon Sears).  Jens, at the end of the film, finds himself on the same route as his partner after a twist of events.  At the time of the arrest, a 19-year old lab youth Talib Ben Hassi dies in police custody igniting uncontrollable, pent-up rage in the ghetto's youth, lusting for revenge.   Suddenly, the two officers with Amos find themselves fair game and must fight tooth and claw to find a way out. 

The confrontation between good cop, bad cop reaches boiling point in a vicious fight between the two.

Scary too is the film’s depiction of what can happen when things go totally out of hand.  The police have no more control and the country does not have the National Guard to be called in like the United States.

SHORTA is action packed and illustrates the problems of violent youth crime as observed from both the police’s and victims’ points of view.  There are no easy solutions to the problem as the film reveals, with things going out of hand quickly and uncontrollably.   The audience sees both points of view taking with the directors not taking any sides.  Not as good as LES MISERABLES but still an excellent and worthwhile watch.  Directors Olholm and Hviid bring their film to an exciting climax.


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