Maurice Pialat’s Police delivers on the raw promise of its title, insofar as much of its action qualifies as an insistently ‘procedural’ descent into the Paris drugs underworld. But the hyper-real route that the film takes to arrive there, before veering into a zone of dangerous emotional play, contributes to a disorienting, adventurous, and ultimately tremendously exciting experience unlike any ‘police-thriller’ ever before conceived.
The iconic Gérard Depardieu (who also collaborated with Pialat on Loulou, Sous le soleil de Satan, and Le Garçu) plays Mangin, a cop whose brutal method of investigation finds its obsessive outlet in an attempt to crack a Tunisian narcotics ring. It is when Mangin enters into close acquaintance with the defiant Noria (expertly played by Sophie Marceau in one of her first screen roles) that the film proceeds to chart an unexpected, emotionally ambiguous course — and the lines between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, and ‘power’ and ‘freedom’, terminally blur.
Written with Catherine Breillat (director of The Last Mistress, Anatomy of Hell, Fat Girl), but relying in equal measure upon Pialat’s improvisatory control (directing, among others, his star-actress from A nos amours, Sandrine Bonnaire), Police is a genre-defying excursion rivaled only by John Cassavetes’ The Killing of a Chinese Bookie in the pantheon of cinema’s most idiosyncratic thrillers. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Maurice Pialat’s daring 1985 film in a magnificent restored transfer for the first time on DVD in the UK.