Prediction: this French movie shot in semi-documentary style about a
Special Victims unit of the Paris police specializing in sexual crimes
against children will get more than just art-house buzz when it’s
released in May. Ably employing a large cast with at least ten major
characters (one of whom she plays herself), director and co-writer
Maîwenn gives us a grittier, more highly strung “Hill Street Blues”,
with a special emphasis on the destructive ways high-pressure, lives-
at-stake jobs can wear down even the hardest-bitten cop. It also
suggests, by way of a shocker at the very end, that child abuse
victims may sometimes turn out to be more resilient than the adults
who pledge their lives (and sanity) to stopping predators. There are
two enormously powerful set pieces. One, involving child separation,
rivals the haunting scene when Haley Joel Osment is abandoned in A.I.
Only here it’s a tiny baby. You’ll have a tough time watching it. The
other is a knock-down, drag-out verbal fight between two officers that
leads to tragedy. You will not be able to get enough of that one. —
Jeff Schultz

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