Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« The Return of the Fundy Pharma... | Republicans Fleeing YouTube De... »

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Writing Beat

posted by on July 27 at 9:08 AM

The thing about the movie Police Beat, which just came out on DVD, is it’s less a movie and more a piece of writing. It’s an essay. The essay is about white people, about ambition, about trying to please a woman who has different values than you do, about the difference between what you see and what you know, about jealousy, about understanding all too well. Z, the immigrant who narrates, wears his cop uniform and rides his cop bike and delivers the essay in his native Wolof and a little French, with English subtitles. Yes, the cinematography in Police Beat is dreamy, but the movie would be nowhere without the words.

Like, there’s a scene in the middle of the movie when Z is riding his bike around a very leafy Capitol Hill. It’s pretty. There’s piano music. He’s thinking about stuff. He hasn’t heard from his lady in longer than he’s okay with. His patrol partner has taken up heroin. He’s met a lot of shrieking, vituperative, blood-splattered citizens on his beat lately, but you can tell he’s really just thinking about his lady and why she hasn’t called.

He thinks:

Who am I? I am a problem solver…

And then:

Why? Because I have all these problems…

And then:

And I am by no means alone…

And then (pace doesn’t change but here, so you don’t have to keep scrolling):

To live is to solve problems. That’s the definition of everything… Leaves are stretching out for light because that’s their problem… Ants move dirt because that’s their problem… Flowers are bright not for lovers, but because they have problems….

That’s writing. That’s pure Charles Mudede.

You know what isn’t writing? The text on the back of the Police Beat DVD box.

It goes a little something like this:

From the boldly original director of the controversial Zoo, this is not your typical crime story! Based on actual police reports, Robinson Devor’s critically acclaimed film follows Z, a rookie bicycle cop in Seattle, as he investigates a series of unsettling crimes. A new West African immigrant separated from his girlfriend, Z views all his cases through the eyes of a heartbroken outsider. The city’s many outrageous and offbeat crimes become a surreal reflection of Z’s disorientation and pain. Ride along on this intense emotional journey through the urban jungle in this lyrical spin on the POLICE BEAT.


I guess it sounds very movie-ish, but man if that isn’t a disappointing way to summarize Police Beat. “Not your typical crime story!” “Outrageous and offbeat crimes”! “Writing” like this not only gives you no sense of what the movie is like, it’s exactly what the movie isn’t: badly written and studded with clichés. The person who wrote Police Beat, who shares a cubicle wall with me, told me to take my grievance to Northwest Film Forum, the main producer. NWFF’s Michael Seiwerath said that the DVD’s text and art came from Image Entertainment, the distributor. Attempts to find the writer within the Image Entertainment empire who wrote the Police Beat DVD text have proven unsuccessful.

RSS icon Comments


They probably just have some kind of program where you stick the DVD in a computer, press play, and when it's over out pops a sizzling blurb such as this.

Posted by Levislade | July 27, 2007 9:25 AM

Yawn. Doesn't matter; not going to see it. Give me Walter Monheit's Blurb-o-Mat any day.

Posted by Snored and bored | July 27, 2007 9:32 AM

Police Beat is waiting for me in my mailbox when I get home (as is Talladega Nights and Hard Boiled). Police Beat is the only one I haven't seen before and it kind of scares me because I'm afraid it will be the visual equivalent of one of Charles SLOG posts. Please tell me I'm wrong.

Posted by elswinger | July 27, 2007 9:34 AM

You must not read the dozens of these blurbs in your paper every week.

Posted by Jason | July 27, 2007 9:46 AM


Wrong. Police Beat is a very budget character development piece. I enjoyed it, but I would never recommend it, but since you're asking, it is good. Do not be scared.

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 27, 2007 10:01 AM

I thought you morons were supposed to file your "reviews" or "news items" about your co-workers' projects under the Conflict of Interest category.
Seriously, the endless self-promotion makes this read like a high school paper.
Oh, and Mudede is not a genius. He's a misplaced professional academic whose self-important B.S. I shouldn't have to read.
That is all.

Posted by jesus | July 27, 2007 10:07 AM


Posted by The Baron | July 27, 2007 10:09 AM

Jesus--you're right, it belongs under conflict of interest. I didn't think of that. There we go.

Posted by christopher frizzelle | July 27, 2007 11:09 AM

xzit nevat dftluo yxnhabvl oyilm kvshjznqu gdutrhx

Posted by suvmzoq yplhki | August 10, 2007 12:38 PM

xzit nevat dftluo yxnhabvl oyilm kvshjznqu gdutrhx

Posted by suvmzoq yplhki | August 10, 2007 12:39 PM

oqcdpvb aphgtldn cozwvlpnt qzihxj hntgkboq yfiuc vrfc

Posted by ukdv ezjlwfrp | August 10, 2007 12:39 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).