Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    May 24, 2012
    The entire movie is pitched at a scream. But the screaming is more Janis Joplin, Axl Rose, or Mary J. Blige than Jamie Lee Curtis. All the tears I shed were hard-earned. So were all the laughing and clapping and eye-covering. In each case, it was involuntary.
  2. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    May 17, 2012
    The messiness of the film seems appropriate to its subject, which is the attempt to bring at least a measure of order - and even a touch of grace - to a chaotic and frequently ugly reality.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    May 17, 2012
    What makes it such a singular experience is the convergence of fine acting, moral urgency and a willingness to linger on moments of great intensity.
  4. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    May 31, 2012
    Polisse is hard to watch at times, but it's also hard not to.
  5. Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    May 24, 2012
    The mosaic of cases and caseworkers is like a season of "The Wire" distilled into two hours.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    May 25, 2012
    I wish the entirety of Polisse were as good as its parts, but perhaps its free-form, mood-swing approach was unavoidable, given the subject. The audience is put through the same wringer as the cops.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 5
  2. Negative: 1 out of 5
  1. May 26, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. One of the reviews the makers of this film used to promote it mentioned that it felt like a whole season of The Wire packed into 2 hours. Not even close. But that's a very high bar. It's still a solid film that makes you think and entertains. The ending is shocking, but it comes out of left field just enough that sure, the film-goer can go back and connect the dots leading up to the act, but it could have used a bit more foundation and more of a discernible through-line. And for a team dedicated to the protection of children, they certainly do humiliate a girl who admits to giving oral sex to a bully in order to get her cell phone back. Yes, it's a bit of gallows humor, and the girl in question wasn't an infant, but it made the team look pretty horrible. Compared to most of the drivel you see in theaters this time of year, it's time well-spent. Just don't sit too close to the screen. I was right up there, and there's SO much dialogue, which means that if you don't speak French you're doing a ton of reading when you'd like to be focusing on the action, the facial expressions, etc. Full Review »
  2. Jan 18, 2013
    In the worst scene, a group of adult (although peurile and immature) police officers laugh at a child sex victim who is disclosing sexual abuse to them. (Yes, a whole roomful of them, they have nothing better to do than sit around and laugh at the dumb girl). I don't know how this "joke" plays in France or the US, but where I saw it people were swearing at the director - I wish she could have heard it.

    Actually, I take it back - there are 2 even worse scenes, when a police officer punches a man who has confessed to sexually abusing his daughter (the audience is meant to cheer), and a Muslim female cop giving a lecture to a Muslim sex offender on gender equality, at the top of her voice. In short, they do anything but their jobs. You would swear the film is written by an immature, spoilt 22 year old, and then you find out that it is. Maiwenn also "stars" in it, as a shy photographer who nauseatingly has to let down her hair and reveal how utterly gorgeous she is (in French kind of way) in the middle of the film.

    For a film about people investigating child abuse, it is alarmingly cruel about the victims' experience. The plot is stupid, and the ending (if you're still watching) will make you wonder why the hell you don't have better things to do with your time and money. WOEFUL.
    Full Review »
  3. May 5, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. The movie was bizarre. Parts of it were so over the top and unrealistic. In one scene, a drug addict mother kidnaps her baby. 40 cops go on the search for her to rescue the baby. It was ridiculous. There was a lot of tasteless stuff too. At one point four or five cops make fun of a teenage girl who said she was forced to fellate a group of boys to get her smartphone back. The juxtaposition in the very last scene of a previously victimized boy's gymnastic success and one of the female cop's suicide is disturbing. It's as if the movie makers are trying to say that the woman died because of the boy. Overall this film is bizarre, unrealistic, and of questionable moral taste. Full Review »