Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix Ryan Gosling in Talks for 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Damien Chazelle's 'La La Land' Ryan Gosling in Talks for 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Damien Chazelle's 'La La Land' You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents Watch: The New 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Trailer Has Landed Watch: The New 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Trailer Has Landed Watch: This Exclusive Tribeca Trailer Promises a Vérité Southern Gothic in Malick Vein Watch: This Exclusive Tribeca Trailer Promises a Vérité Southern Gothic in Malick Vein 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 'Queen of Earth,' Starring a Gloriously Unhinged Elisabeth Moss, Goes to IFC 'Queen of Earth,' Starring a Gloriously Unhinged Elisabeth Moss, Goes to IFC Cary Fukunaga Takes Over Long-Stalled 'The Alienist' as TV Series Cary Fukunaga Takes Over Long-Stalled 'The Alienist' as TV Series Why the Istanbul Film Festival Cancelled Its 2015 Competition Why the Istanbul Film Festival Cancelled Its 2015 Competition MTV Movie Awards 2015: The Highs, the Lows and the Winners List (Videos) MTV Movie Awards 2015: The Highs, the Lows and the Winners List (Videos) Arthouse Audit: 'Ex Machina' Leads Four Big Openers, Kristen Stewart Opens 'Clouds of Sils Maria' Arthouse Audit: 'Ex Machina' Leads Four Big Openers, Kristen Stewart Opens 'Clouds of Sils Maria' From 'Boyhood' to 'Boy Next Door,' the 2015 MTV Movie Awards Noms Are All Over the Map From 'Boyhood' to 'Boy Next Door,' the 2015 MTV Movie Awards Noms Are All Over the Map 25 Years Ago I Wrote: "Hollywood's Female Stars An Endangered Species" 25 Years Ago I Wrote: "Hollywood's Female Stars An Endangered Species" The New Ladder: Anatomy of Indie Women's Picture 'Farah Goes Bang' The New Ladder: Anatomy of Indie Women's Picture 'Farah Goes Bang' Here's the First Image of Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix in Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man' Here's the First Image of Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix in Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man' Reese Witherspoon Nabs 'Luckiest Girl Alive' with Lionsgate, with "a wily, intelligent, complex narrator" Reese Witherspoon Nabs 'Luckiest Girl Alive' with Lionsgate, with "a wily, intelligent, complex narrator" Kristen Stewart Explains How She Held Her Own with Juliette Binoche in 'Sils Maria'--and Won a Cesar Kristen Stewart Explains How She Held Her Own with Juliette Binoche in 'Sils Maria'--and Won a Cesar Scientists Choose the 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies Ever Scientists Choose the 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies Ever Ryan Gosling Reveals How and Why He Shot 'Lost River' Ryan Gosling Reveals How and Why He Shot 'Lost River'

DOC NYC Review: 'Patrolman P' a Fascinating Justice Saga Made of Gray Areas

Photo of John Anderson By John Anderson | Thompson on Hollywood November 16, 2013 at 7:08PM

That it’s the dawn of “De Blasio Time” in New York City probably won’t be making the NYPD very happy. Neither will Ido Mizrahy’s “Patrolman P,” a film premiering at DOC NYC which will inevitably be pegged as a kind of anti-“Serpico” story of police corruption, and also happens to be a movie ripe for the grand old dramatic feature remake.
1
"Patrolman P"
"Patrolman P"

That it’s the dawn of “De Blasio Time” in New York City probably won’t be making the NYPD very happy. Neither will Ido Mizrahy’s “Patrolman P,” a film premiering November 16 at DOC NYC  which will inevitably be pegged as a kind of anti-“Serpico” story of police corruption, and also happens to be a movie ripe for the grand old dramatic feature remake.

The core question -- Who would be the hero? Ido Mizrahy, the director of the archival-heavy “Patrolman P,” has a protagonist on his hands who’s considerably less than a paragon of virtue. William Phillips, who appeared before the Knapp Commission of the ‘70s (the same body that heard Frank Serpico’s testimony) was pressed into wearing a wire and ratting out his dirty colleagues after he was busted taking bribes -- from, among others, Xaviera Hollander, the celebrated “Happy Hooker” (who appears in the doc). Phillips was no Serpico, whose near-fatal shooting during a botched drug raid has always cast suspicion on his brothers in blue. 

Phillips’ “payback” came when he was charged with the murder of a pimp and a prostitute and the shooting of a customer who later testified against him, and whose account is called into serious question by “Patrolman P.”

When Mizrahy catches up to him, Phillips has served more than 30 years in prison, and what ensues is not the kind of cut-and-dried justice saga Hollywood usually likes. But it’s precisely the gray areas of Mizrahy’s movie, and Phillips story, that would make a fascinating feature.

And oh yeah, BTW, the doc’s not bad either: Although Mizrahy’s narration lacks a certain sparkle, the archival footage of what is now Old New York -- the ‘70s era of a burning Bronx, garbage strikes and John V. Lindsay -- is fascinating. So is Phillips, whose persona ranges from righteous victim to pragmatic operator to sleazy operator, one whom even Mizrahy develops a few doubts about.

This article is related to: Reviews, Reviews, Documentary, Documentaries


E-Mail Updates