‘A Cop Movie’ Trailer: Genre-Bending Documentary Probes Mexico’s Justice System

Exclusive: "Gueros" director Alonso Ruizpalacios reflects on the paradoxes of a pair of Mexico City cops in this unpredictable investigation.
A Cop Movie
"A Cop Movie"

“Museo” and “Gueros” director Alonso Ruizpalacios zooms in on the paradoxes inherent in the job for a pair of Mexico City cops in the unpredictable, genre-bending documentary “A Cop Movie.” Originally a Berlin Film Festival premiere from earlier this year, “A Cop Movie” arrives on Netflix on November 5. Exclusive to IndieWire, watch the trailer below before the film hits the streaming platform.

Here’s the official synopsis courtesy of Netflix: “Director Alonso Ruizpalacios takes us deep into the Mexican police force with the story of Teresa and Montoya, together known as ‘the love patrol.’ In this thoroughly original and unpredictable documentary, Ruizpalacios plays with the boundaries of nonfiction and immerses the audience into the human experience of police work within a dysfunctional system.”

“Over the course of our investigation, I came to the conclusion that performing is an essential part of a police officer’s life. From the moment they put on the uniform, they are playing a part, which extends throughout their workday, displaying a strength they don’t have or helping with something they are not prepared for. Nevertheless, they have to do it within a dysfunctional system,” Ruizpalacios said in a statement.

Here’s more from IndieWire’s review of the film:

There have been countless documentaries made on that subject, but Ruizpalacios’ dynamic approach roots the exploration in the energy of hardworking officers consumed by the commitments of the job, at least until it turns against them. The movie revolts as well, reinventing its structure midway through with mixed results, but the level of risk and intrigue driving its critical approach to law enforcement sustains an unusual method of interrogating a subject so often seen exclusively in gloomy terms.

With his spirited black-and-white 2014 activist coming-of-age drama “Gueros,” Ruizpalacios emerged as one of the most exciting new voices in Mexican cinema, and his a naturalistic captured a restless city at war with itself. He followed that with “Museo,” a slick heist movie based on a true story. “A Cop Movie” combines those two stylistic impulses along with a clever non-fiction framework.

At its center are two long-time officers, 17-year veteran Theresa, whose father worked in the force for years before her, and Montoya, whose brother left the force years earlier. While the pair are portrayed onscreen by actors Mónica Del Carmen and Raúl Briones, it’s clear from the outset that dramatic scenes essentially exist as prolonged re-enactments driven by voiceovers from interviews with the real subjects. Similar to Clio Barnard’s lip-synched documentary “The Arbor,” Ruizpalacios follows his characters throughout their jobs as they reflect on life stories and motivations for the viewer, creating the beguiling impression of drifting through their recollections. Here’s Theresa driving her police car as she talks about her indoctrination into the force; there’s Montoya, recalling the way police work wrestled him from the despair of a previous breakup as he actually endures it; and finally, there’s the two of them, partners, talking about how their bond deepened with time.

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