Stars: Karin Viard, Joey Starr, Marina Foïs, Nicholas Duvauchelle, Maïwenn, Karole Rocher, Emmanuelle Bercot, Frederic Pierrot
Admittedly, French actress/writer/director Maïwenn's sprawling procedural Polisse requires a great deal of patience. Clocking in at a slightly overlong 127 minutes, the award-winning French film slowly builds to a stunning, considerably bleak coda as Maïwenn (High Tension) provides an all-access look at the inner workings of police officers assigned to the Child Protection Unit in Paris.
On the job, the ensemble of characters have to contend with abused kids, wayward parents, and homeless families, all of which weigh heavily on the authority figures' emotions. Off the clock, those emotions are tested even further, and Polisse does a fine job of making you care just as much about the officers as you do for the battered youngsters they're forced to save on a daily basis. Imagine your favorite cop TV show done with subtitles, French sensibilities, and unflinching darkness; in other words, Polisse is The Wire for Parisians.