Film review: Black Cop

The Halifax-made film is briefly returning to theatres once again.

Black Cop

Opens Friday, June 1
Cineplex Park Lane
5657 Spring Garden Road

Black Cop was shot in Halifax, but you'd only know that if you already lived here. Cory Bowles' directorial debut, expanded from his 2015 short, looks and feels as if it could be anywhere in North America, and that's just what he wanted. When Black Cop (Ronnie Rowe)—we don't know a single thing about him, other than that—is harassed by fellow officers, it sends him to a breaking point and on a mission to intimidate and bully as he has been. His targets are jogging doctors, dads in parks, yuppies in SUVs, college students—all white.

Bowles, an African Nova Scotian, is in his mid-40s and this feels like the movie he's been waiting his whole life to make: Often described as a satire, it's much darker and more serious than that, even if it's not very physically violent, the mental violence is possibly more ominous. Jeff Wheaton's cinematography is sharp and vibrant against a leafless, wet, grey Halifax November. Given that his character is nameless and we never see his home life, Rowe's performance is one incrementally furious thread of reaction—whether he feels guilt or remorse is up to you—while scenes of direct camera address allow glances of his fury.

Black Cop ends ambiguously, with the protagonist at a Black Lives Matter rally, listening to a poet (Andre Fenton). You can see the question on Rowe's face, but not the answer: Is Black Cop's work over, or has it just begun?

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