Film Review: BLACK COP (Canada 2018) ***

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Black Cop Poster

A black police officer is pushed to the edge, taking out his frustrations on the privileged community he’s sworn to protect.


Cory Bowles


Cory Bowles


BLACK COP is a satire/drama about a black cop (no name given to him or to any of other characters in the film).

In the film, some people think BLACK COP has lost touch with his blackness, but BLACK COP thinks not.  Most of the time, people tell him how to do his job.  “Assholes think they know too much.” is what the cop’s response is.  The humour is quite black (pardon the pun!) but it works marvellously.  And bitingly funny. 

It is thus not easy being a black cop as the film clearly demonstrates.  The community (including the black portion) does not trust him, his colleagues are wary of him and he is being patronized by the people he is supposed to protect.   And when the world is on edge waiting for a grand jury verdict on a high-profile police case involving unarmed youth, all eyes are on him  

Though the film is set in the U.S., the theme reflects the famous Toronto case in which an officer shot an armed youth on a streetcar.

For this officer already struggling between duty and moral obligation, things take a drastic turn when he is profiled by his colleagues off-duty (10 minutes into the movie), pushing him over the edge.  Armed with the power of his badge, an antagonizing radio show for company, and some good old-fashioned rage, the stage is set for a whirlwind day filled with vendetta and just desserts, as Black Cop targets the community he is sworn to protect. 

The film’s premise is simple.  After the cop experiences abuse, he loses it an takes revenge by abusing the community under his beat.  The abuse takes the form of him arresting, threatening and beating up an assortment of people.  The abuse scenes unfold like watching a Youtube video shot by a camcorder placed at the cop’s eye-level.   The film has an edgy feel from the way other segments are shot, with a combination of jump cuts, slow and fast motion.  But the film does not go anywhere except as to what transpires from that simple premise, which is a bit of a disappointment.

There are lots of anger in BLACK COP.  And this is what makes it compelling to watch!

Actor Ronnie Rowe Jr. (looking a bit like Ice Cube) portrays him almost perfectly, combining drama and humour as he tackles the issues of race, class and power.  The film is directed by Cory Bowles (who did episodes of the Trailer Park Boys).  Bowles comes from a black father and a white mother.

The film unveils in chapters with odd titles.  The first chapter is titled “Brother..Brother…Brother.”  The second is called “Just a Friendly game of Baseball.”  and the third “Zombie no go stop.”  – not that all this makes sense, but it adds to the edginess. BLACK COP opens across Canada in major cities on June 1 as a Cineplex Special Event then June 5 an exclusive iTunes run, with a wide VOD release on June 19.


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