The Truth Made Her a Target
Back in the hometown of her youth, Alicia West (Naomie Harris) is surviving as a rookie police officer in New Orleans. “Black and Blue” follows her third week of duty, as she rides along through the 9th Ward with her partner Kevin (Reid Scott). Taking one for the team, she picks-up her first night shift alongside Officer Deacon Brown (James Moses Black) as she sees a whole different side of her city. Towards the end of the morning, a suspicious, impromptu meeting unknowingly puts her life in extreme danger. West witnesses Brown and officers Terry Malone (Frank Grillo) and his partner (Beau Knapp) execute unarmed kids, both with her eyes and her body cam. Things escalate quickly as they fire multiple shots into her vest, but she manages to escape. Alone, on the run, and afraid to trust any cops, West must escape and survive so she can download her camera footage at the precinct.
In a World filled with news stories of corrupt cops and crime, “Black and Blue” is sure to not sit well with our law enforcement (especially New Orleans PD). Our city unfortunately has had its fair share as well. The film relies on Harris and she delivers wonderfully, both empowering and commanding from start to finish. The film’s extended cast does well, but they’re most type-casted at this point and their arcs were easy to spot from a mile away. The film’s story is thrilling, but albeit incredibly predictable; especially some of the “twists”. I was also left scratching my head with the film’s final lines of dialog, as they felt both cheesy and entirely unlikely. In-between the obvious plot development, “Black and Blue” is filled with chase sequences showcased in an in-your-face style as it brings the harshness and brutality to life. The film’s score added tenseness, but I couldn’t help but think about “Sicario” as it sounded identical. Not to be too nitpicky, but some of the gunshots sounded more like grenades going off as their sound levels were greatly exaggerated. At a brisk 108 minutes, the film flows and leaves you on the edge-of-your-seat!
While the film as a whole isn’t all too impressive, the film’s subject matter is entirely its salvation. “Black and Blue” explores the current state of our views on society and police; that society hates cops and cops hate minorities. Rather than glorify these unfortunate times, the heart of the film involves changing our Nation as a whole. “Be the Change”, as West says in the film. Now, I can’t speak to this with even an ounce of personal experience, but I believe in the film’s message. I truly hope that people on both sides can experience the film with an open mind and without the influence of their personal agenda and if “Black and Blue” can serve as a possible talking (and turning) point, then it certainly may find a life.
“Black and Blue” is thrilling and compelling but unfortunately too predictable, while telling a story that is difficult to deal with in today’s society; but its handling of sensitive subject matter is exactly what we need.
BLACK AND BLUE is rated R for violence and language, in theaters OCTOBER 25TH!