TIFF 2020: “Shorta”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Police brutality occurs in every corner of the planet. It just happens that we hear only about the ones that take place in the United States. Danish “Shorta” almost replicates the situation of Gorge Floyd, but the situation unfolding in the film was written years ago. Strangely or not, directors Anders Ølholm and Frederik Louis Hviid recreate an atmosphere of anguish and anger, hatred and revenge in a way that if I were a police officer, I would never want to face such an ambush in real life or even in the cinematic universe.

We don’t know what happened to Talib Ben Hassi, a nineteen-year-old detainee while he was in police custody. All that we know is he screamed, “I cannot breathe”. Later on, he was sent to the ICU. Police officers, Jens and Mike, are on routine patrol in Svalegården’s ghetto when the news of Talib passing away shakes the earth. Left alone, with no back up plan, the two officers must fight for their lives, while dozens are trying to hunt them down to avenge the death of one of their own.

Mike (Jacob Lohmann ) is a very tough officer. He is rude and can be violent, while his partner Jens (Simon Sears) is soft. When Mike arrests Amos (Tarek Zayat) for throwing a milkshake on their car, Jens is willing to testify against his partner, if necessary, to let the boy go. But that would happen if they would make it to the police station. However, when the news comes, the war on police begins. During this time, you will be watching both officers, paying attention to their reaction and what they will do in order to survive. At some point, they will have to be harsh and defensive, sometimes they will have to be ruthless. But all this time, both men will gain a certain lesson that will help them make a life-changing decision to help them be reborn as a whole new person.

“Shorta”, in Arabic meaning Police, is a superb police drama of riots, revenge, brutality and survival. It is also a character driven film that literally will make you despise Mike for being a truly bad person. However, due to the surrounding situation, you will find yourself rooting for him because those who go after them are wrong too, despite the fact that they are angry and in extreme rage. As for the film, be prepared for a nail-biting journey you most certainly will never forget.

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