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Sundance 2021: “At the Ready”


Rating: 3 out of 5.
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Unfortunately, in the United States, law enforcement is the least trusted institution. Whether it’s the police, deputy office or border patrol, people can’t stomach them. But how much do we know about those who choose the job that’s vilified by the community yet continue serving them?

“At the Ready” from director Maisie Crow, takes the audience to El Paso’s High Horizon School that prepares the best law enforcement officers. As students, Kassy, Cristina and Cesar, Mexican-American students, get ready for the course of their lifetime, and they share their reasons for choosing the profession. A clash of family values and how they can be accepted by their own people even when sometimes, as part of their duty, may have to enforce the law against them, is admirable yet dangerous at the same time.

“At the Ready” is an ambitious documentary that sheds light into the life of policing and law enforcement. While it starts with just young students, the film clearly captures the importance of their training and readiness in real-life scenarios. For instance, they must learn to deal with hostile situations, save hostages or learn how to communicate with a person who violates the law but is armed with a phone camera. Anything that the officer may do, good or bad, will be used against him.

It captures how stressful the job is and even the training, even though it does not require a college degree. But mainly through the three documentary subjects, we begin to emphasize with them, root and support them along the way as they get ready for a competition against other high schools. But will it happen or not and will they succeed at their job is something only time will tell, while all that we can do is remain hopeful and wish them the best of luck.

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