Review – Law and Order

Law and Order
Directed by: Frederick Wiseman
1969

Law and OrderI’ve just recently discovered that Frederick Wiseman’s Zipporah Films has been quickly rolling out his filmography on DVD since winter of 2007, so I’ve finally had the chance to sit down and watch one of his films! Law and Order is a gritty look at law enforcement in the late 1960’s that’s right up my alley. (Did I actually just use the phrase ‘right up my alley’?) As a fan of the television show Cops, I immediately gravitated to this film and what I imagine is one of the first verite looks at the every-day situations that police offers find themselves in. (I know Police Tapes was an early inspiration for Cops. This film outdates that one by 8 years.) The most interesting thing is seeing the somewhat outdated and aggressive tactics used by the officers. One of them even smokes a pipe on the job! An altercation with a prostitute was particularily uncomfortable to watch as some hefty dectectives raided her hotel room and ended up putting her into a pretty intense choke hold. The fact that she’s struggling to breathe doesn’t stop them from asking her some questions in the process. I can’t wait to start digging in to the rest of Wiseman’s back catalogue.

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