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TIFF 2017 Review: Black Cop

Ronnie Rowe Jr. breaks-out as BLACK COP.

Black Cop, the latest film from actor/director Cory Bowles, is perhaps the most timely and relevant film at this year’s festival. Premiering just weeks after Charlottesville’s white supremacist protests, the film tackles racial issues in an unabashedly confrontational manner.

Ronnie Rowe Jr. is revelatory as the film’s title character. Disabling his GPS and disconnecting his body camera, Black Cop spends a day treating white civilians the way white cops have treated black civilians. Unprovoked, Black Cop harasses, terrorizes, and beats the innocent, extracting revenge for years of abuse.

Stylistically, the film is pretty jarring. Rowe frequently appears outside of the diegesis, facing the camera and delivering monologues. These sequences often convey the feeling of the stage play, rather than a cinematic aside. Similarly, some of Black Cop’s actions are so outrageous that the film distances it’s audience when it means to shock. That being said, Black Cop succeeds due to Rowe’s committed performance. Even when the events unfolding are outlandish, Rowe is fully committed and always entirely believable. Black Cop will provoke audience discussion, but most importantly, it introduces viewers to a star which we can all hope to see a lot more of.

Matt Hoffman

Matthew Hoffman is a Toronto-based cinephile who especially enjoys French films and actresses over the age of 50; including but not limited to: Isabelle Huppert, Meryl Streep, and Jacki Weaver.