– All the Moors are from Arsenal.
–And all the Real Madrid cops.
The dialogue between a policeman and a boy from the Copenhagen suburbs exemplifies the rawness of ‘Shorta. The weight of the law ‘, that takes its title from an Arabic word meaning ‘policeman’. The arrest of a black teenager and the social unrest that ensues after his death is the trigger for this adrenaline-pumping film by Frederik Louis Hviid and Anders Olholm, well received at festivals such as Venice and Toronto.
The first bars of the film refer to the case of George Floyd, with helicopters flying over a neighborhood inhabited by immigrants, as there are so many on the outskirts of large European cities. “Go out and restore order before someone questions it,” the sergeant orders two policemen who will be trapped in the ghetto without anyone coming to their rescue. One is a bad beast, racist and violent, and the other seems like a good guy. It would seem that we are facing the typical ‘buddy movie’ seen a thousand times. But ‘Shorta’ has the ability to disrupt the predictable and make at the end of the film we see the protagonists with different eyes. Like the gang from ‘The Warriors’, they will have passed a very tough test on a nightmare night shot almost in real time.
The originality of ‘Shorta’ lies in the fact that it takes place in that ‘banlieue’ that French cinema has portrayed so many times (‘Hate’, ‘Les miserables’), a war zone threatened by unemployment and fundamentalism, that the same it could be in Paris than in Copenhagen. But instead of dwelling on social analysis, as is customary in the subgenre, he opts for pure action and intrigue. As if John Carpenter had filmed ‘1997: Rescue in New York’ in Saint-Denis.
“‘Shorta’ is above all a genre film,” defend Hviid and Olholm. «It is indebted to directors such as William Friedkin, Sydney Lumet and Walter Hill and his gritty thrillers from the 70s and 80s, populated by highly complex antiheroes. But also with filmmakers like Spike Lee and Matthieu Kassovitz, whose work oozes anger, indignation and rebellion. A hunt without rest that grabs the viewer by the front of his shirt and does not let go thanks to the plot twists, the physicality of the action and some great actors.