Police Beat Available on DVD
Police Beat reminds us that the world that we live in -- actual events unfolding each day -- makes David Lynch's material seem rather conventional. Anthropologists may someday look back in wonder on our capability to ballet through the daily social catastrophes of urban living. Some will see this insouciance as a biological adaptation, others a function of freely-prescribed anti-depressants, both plausible explanations of how we experience the malaise without collapsing into fear and grief.
Bicycling through his appointed rounds, African-born, Seattle police officer Z. (Pape Sidy Niang), displays little enthusiasm for wiping society's runny noses -- the mostly nickel-and-dime crimes he encounters on a daily basis. He is much more focused on his obsession with a cross-cultural relationship that has slipped beyond his control. A conservative sort, the life of he and his partner, in and out of uniform, nonetheless blend well into the overall tableaux of dysfunction.
Underwritten by the Northwest Film Forum, Police Beat provides humorous commentary on city living. A co-writer, Charles Mudede, scribes the weekly crime blotter column for The Stranger. All the cases in the film are based on actual police reports. When strung together as mini-vignettes interwoven with Z.'s personal life, Police Beat provides a flirtatious walk between cogency and the surreal -- sometimes disjointed, always fascinating and adventurous.
Cashback Opens 7/20 in Seattle
In this light comedy, Ben (Sean Biggerstaff), having broken up with his girlfriend, finds himself in a tailspin. They attend the same small college and her everyday presence serves as a reminder that his old-used-to-be ain't-no-more. A bout of insomnia, a byproduct of this recovery period, proves stubborn -- no sleep, 24/7. So as to not waste these hours completely, he takes on a nightshift at the local supermarket.
There, working under a boss with severe delusions of grandeur, Ben stocks shelves, mops floors and attends to miscellaneous duties. His fellow grocers consist of three young adults, all in various stages of arrested development, a blessing of sorts, allowing them to amuse themselves in the otherwise monotonous world of bread, milk and toilet tissue. So these juvenile inventions of distraction, portrayed convincingly, render the most basic of shticks hilarious. Todd's fourth colleague, Sharon (Emelia Fox), the reserved checkout girl, provides a counterbalance to the shenanigans and a salve for Ben's broken heart.
To sooth the glacial movement of time at a boring job, Ben discovers the ability to imagine the world in stop motion, as though he had a pause function for life. With this newly discovered ability, Ben, an art student, provides us with spontaneous tomes on the female anatomy that, as he points out, provided inspiration for some of the greatest painters in history. Disrobing female customers, frozen in time, he expands on his theories. The intended humorous irony of placing his lust in an academic frame proves a waste for anybody old enough to see the movie.
This film is best enjoyed by males in the company of same, who in the dark may covertly giggle and freely relate to their counterparts on the screen, avoiding the stigma appropriate to such behavior. Cashback, an average concept with decent performances, is watchable and forgettable, in this case a priceless combination.