Thursday, May 23, 2024

“POWER”

THE STORY – Driven to contain threats to social order, American policing has exploded in scope and scale over hundreds of years. Now, it can be described by one word: power.

THE CAST – N/A

THE TEAM – Yance Ford (Director/Writer) & Ian Olds (Writer)

THE RUNNING TIME – 85 Minutes


The ways in which violence touches our lives can be exceptionally powerful. It’s a painful and traumatic path that stretches across a multitude of demographics and generations, informing those who have been touched by it with a deeply resonant meaning. To process such an act is a daunting assignment, and to expose the root causes can be a difficult but necessary venture. However, it can be an even more formidable task when the perpetrators are those who hold an immense grasp over the public. The ways in which people are monitored by a looming figurehead make dissecting this issue complex and, by extension, creates a more arduous method to arrive at a peaceful resolution. Such is the conflict at the heart of “Power,” a piercing examination into the heart of such brutal escapades.

The focus of this documentary is to analyze how the police force in the United States has amassed so much dominance over the years, particularly in its brutal tactics of enforcement. The tracks are first laid in the earliest days as a means to control racial minorities in order to keep slavery in check. Once these practices came to have more official designations and recognition from the state, their objectives grew more complicated and nuanced. Suppression became defined more in social structures, and the heavier armory has only exacerbated this issue. As time marches on, so do the struggles of those fighting against a corrupt system of justice. A look is granted from both those who rally against this order and those who battle from within.

Yance Ford has already shown a previous interest in similar subject matter with his riveting, Oscar-nominated documentary “Strong Island.” The strength of that work was how much it was an evocative personal examination, using the guise of peering into the justice practices and laying them onto a more introspective journey. Here, the perspective feels more removed, though not without losing some important commentary. From the very first instance in which the influence of police activity is described as a nuclear weapon with far-reaching fallout affecting communities, one has a sense of the grand scale that will be tracked. There is a little disorientation in the narrative’s construction that jumps around a not-too-cleanly presented timeline, but it’s a fascinating evolution that is documented. The insights that show how this organization evolved from a simple arm of racial oppression to one that looked to further divide classes and impede labor initiatives is a compelling analysis. It’s a captivating portrait, even if the talking heads provide a more pedestrian format in which to deliver such vital information.

What will always make a work like this exceptional is how it manages to approach such a topic in a unique manner. While the information is engrossing, the execution, for the most part, is a pretty standard affair. The archival footage is a revealing display but one that flavors the observations rather than transforming them. The one aspect that is more alluring comes from the viewpoint of Charlie Adams, a Black member of Minnesota’s police force who has dealt with his own set of issues in combating the systemic failures within the organization of which he is a participant. Hearing him describe, from his own experiences, the fight between his sense of integrity and the corruption that intensely wants to maintain a broken status quo is an absorbing tale. Of all the anecdotes delivered, his is the most resonant to mine. One wishes he was a more central figure to this narrative, which would have been a sturdy foundation upon which to build and create an even more gripping showcase.

The concepts introduced in “Power” are inherently alluring. What makes it all the more potent is how this history still lingers within our society to this day. The expansion marked from those inception points leads to a hellish reality with a wide-reaching scope; what is detailed here is greatly appreciated. There is an overwhelming sense of missed opportunity to craft a more vigorous exhibition with these participants, allowing the focus to linger on some voices that aren’t as interesting as others. It can lead to an experience that can be a bit tedious, but overall, it still manages to be a stirring declaration of an important concern.

THE RECAP

THE GOOD - Presents an engaging subject matter to explore that looks at a rich and compelling history. Some of the perspectives it offers are quite illuminating and showcase a unique commentary.

THE BAD - The presentation is relatively standard, with a straightforward narrative. Little innovation is presented through the interviews or narrative construction.

THE OSCAR PROSPECTS - Best Documentary Feature

THE FINAL SCORE - 7/10

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Josh Parham
Josh Parhamhttps://nextbestpicture.com
I love movies so much I evidently hate them. Wants to run a production company.

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<b>THE GOOD - </b>Presents an engaging subject matter to explore that looks at a rich and compelling history. Some of the perspectives it offers are quite illuminating and showcase a unique commentary.<br><br> <b>THE BAD - </b>The presentation is relatively standard, with a straightforward narrative. Little innovation is presented through the interviews or narrative construction.<br><br> <b>THE OSCAR PROSPECTS - </b><a href="/oscar-predictions-best-documentary-feature/">Best Documentary Feature</a><br><br> <b>THE FINAL SCORE - </b>7/10<br><br>"POWER"