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#TIFF19 Review: Coppers (TIFF Docs)

September 5, 2019

By John Corrado

★★★★ (out of 4)

The latest from Alan Zweig, Coppers finds the Canadian documentary filmmaker interviewing former police officers in Ontario, who have either left the force due to retirement or for other reasons. Speaking directly to the camera, the officers open up about experiencing PTSD, tough decisions they had to make on the job, and the gallows humour that many of them developed as a coping mechanism to deal with the trauma of what they had to endure.

Shot in Zweig’s signature style of talking heads with him as a very active participant behind the camera, Coppers allows us to look directly into the eyes of these officers and see them as people. Complicated, flawed and often broken people who have to live with the decisions they have made. Some of them have regret, others won’t allow themselves to feel this way. The film is often quite disturbing, as they describe homicide or accident scenes that they responded to, including the dismembered bodies they were forced to deal with.

But Coppers is also often moving to watch, delving deep into how being in law enforcement effects you on a psychological level, and it’s required viewing for those interested in the subject. This is an essential, challenging and remarkably empathetic work from one of Canada’s foremost documentarians.

Public Screenings:

Saturday, September 7th – 7:15 PM at Scotiabank Theatre

Tuesday, September 10th – 3:00 PM at Scotiabank Theatre

Thursday, September 12th – 9:00 PM at Scotiabank Theatre

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