Stars: Jacob Lohmann, Simon Sears, Tarek Zayat.
This complex and deftly-executed Danish police thriller nods to U.S crime dramas as ‘Training Day’ and Assault on Precinct Thirteen while delivering some prescient social observations.
It begins just after an incident in which police brutalise a nineteen-year-old Muslim man while trying to restrain him (‘Shorta’ is the Arabic word for cop). Jens (Sears) is the seemingly mild-mannered cop reluctantly teamed up with Mike (Lohmann) a hot-tempered racist, with Jens’ commander instructing him to keep an eye on his partner. While they are on patrol in the sprawling Svalegården housing estate, news comes of the death of the police detainee, causing intense anger in the local community. Rather than lie low, Mike decides to humiliate teenager Amos (Zayat). When Amos protests, Mike arrests him, just as rioting breaks out around them. Stranded, the duo find themselves fighting for their lives.
It’s a skilful and slick drama which draws on Hollywood tropes while subverting them, often through a canny shifting of camera framing or perspective. The script is equally nuanced with Mike, very nicely played by Lohmann, emerging as a character capable of compassion as well as anger.
Occasionally credibility is stretched, in a chance meeting Mike has with a local, and in the inability of their fellow cops to extricate their colleagues from this situation, but this remains a strikingly confident debut feature from writer-directors directors, Ølholm and Hviid which will have Hollywood ears a-pricking.
Shorta is released 3rd September
Follow David on @DWill_Crackfilm