★ ★ ★ ☆
Cory Bowles, writer and director of “Black Cop,” is best known for his work as an actor on “Trailer Park Boys.” He is also a choreographer, a musician and theatre director. He mixes and matches all those disciplines, cherry picking the best of his experience for his vision of “Black Cop,” a film about racial profiling that is one part social comment and two parts performance piece.
Ronnie Rowe Jr. is the title character, a police officer whose life changes after he is racially profiled by another cop. Taking justice into his own hands Black Cop becomes involved in a series of escalating situations while on duty. He draws his gun on a man picking up his bike at school. A young couple are left handcuffed by their car after a traffic stop. A doctor out on a jog is brutally beaten. In each case the perpetrators are white and disobey direct orders from Black Cop. It’s a striking reversal of the kind of footage we’ve become accustomed to seeing on the nightly news, and makes a timely and powerful statement on the interaction of law enforcement and members of marginalized communities.
Interspersed between the patrol scenes are monologues on the nature of subjugation and subservience. Layered on top is a propulsive jazz and hip hop soundtrack that underscores and compliments the narrative.
“Black Cop’s” story doesn’t end so much as it stops, suggesting the ills it portrays—racial profiling, police brutality—haven’t ended either. It’s a nervy finish to a movie that entertainingly tackles serious subjects head on. In a terrific performance Rowe, who appears in almost every frame of the film, earns both revulsion and empathy as he explores the emotions of the character.
By the time the end credits roll though it is Bowles who emerges as the star. His bold criss-crossing of disciplines and use of satire makes for a thought provoking examination of a hot button topic.
3 ½ STARS