Crime + Punishment (2018)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.   

USA, 2018.  Hulu.  Cinematography by Stephen Maing.  Produced by Stephen Maing, Eric Daniel Metzgar, Ross Tuttle.  Music by Brendon Anderegg, Andrew Lafkas.  Film Editing by Stephen Maing, Eric Daniel Metzgar.  National Board of Review Awards 2018

New York City has an impressive police force to service its boroughs, numbering around 36,000 officers, and some years ago the organization decided, in an effort to improve relations with citizens, to abolish the quotas that required officers to make a certain number of arrests per month.  A group of police officers come forward with allegations that quotas are unofficially still mandatory, and are suing their bosses after unfair disciplinary measures were brought against them for not meeting these minimums.  Digging deeper we learn, without too much surprise, that these quotas serve a financial purpose, as the city collects millions of dollars in revenue from the fees that New Yorkers have to pay to get their false arrests and detainments cleared up.  Bravery is the word for this powerful documentary, much of it captured by Stephen Maing getting his camera close to some pretty hairy situations, while a number of officers very honestly allow him to take their testimony and follow their journey without obscuring their identities.  The presence of Manuel ‘Manny’ Gomez, a private investigator whose days are mostly taken up with clearing up false arrests, makes for a charismatic figure on screen as he seeks to clear the name of a young man who could possibly get a lengthy sentence after a baseless arrest made with little evidence connecting him to the crime.  Absorbing and intelligently edited, this film doesn’t let up until the end.

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