The other night I watched The Sentinel and I noticed something that needs to stop right now. Before I explain what that is though, let me first say how bad the movie was. It was predictable and very boring, but I digress.
Movies love to play the whole cops versus other agencies rivalry to the point of unbelievability. Whichever group the movie is about is made to seem like they are geniuses while the other group comes off as morons. In the crappy movie named above, Kiefer plays a Secret Service investigator, who makes the D.C. detectives look silly with his uncanny ability to search a crime scene. Or in Boondock Saints, the cops are inept, but the FBI agent is brilliant.
It also works in reverse, Marky Mark makes the great comment in The Departed: “My theory on Feds is that they’re like mushrooms, feed ’em shit and keep ’em in the dark.”
The problem as I see it, the film makers want us to believe that their character is superior in some way, but why not just point out his achievement, why point out the failure of someone else. Plus, why make law enforcement agencies look bad, is there some message there? I am pretty sure most of those people, in whatever department, can do their jobs.
That’s just the way I see it. Who agrees with me? Or wants to name more movies where they do this sort of thing? A great movie where this was not an issue, Inside Man, which showed the detectives being smarter than the beat cops, but the beat cop being decent at his job and not being the guy screws it all up…