Overlooked auteur Charles Burnett’s first major studio venture was this provocative and suspenseful commentary on the efforts of a young officer to be integrated into the LAPD. During the course of duty, his own values are sorely tested, and most of the police come up short on any scale of justice.
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I wasn't really that impressed with The Glass Shield, besides the evocative subject matter nothing else really stands out. I felt like I was watching a TV film, everything from the lighting to the cinematography just felt cheap. Burnett handles the subject matter so bluntly that most of the time the film comes of as melodramatic. I appreciate the message of the film, but I just wish that the film itself was better.
From Burnett, I was hoping for a meditation on race relations within a corrupt police force or at least a strong social justice message. Instead, Burnett played to the masses in his first well-funded feature, writing and directing a plodding drama with stilted dialogue, cheesy music and villains who practically twirl their mustaches. A below-par, toothless procedural that looks like an old TV movie of the week.
It is always startling to see black lives portrayed so directly and matter of factly that they feel "normal". Startling, embarrassingly so, how the sheer basic existence of black lives is not something that really exists in popular culture. That people simply exist should be easy to believe and portray, and that it isn't, seemingly, is a massive indictment of our culture.
The Glass Shield might not be a great cinematic achievement but it's still a solid piece of storytelling and, sadly, remains relevant today. It seems like Burnett had to make a few compromises to get studio support for this project, as the most important parts of the movie are the understated inter-relational moments. But they're mostly drowned out by the conspiracy narrative. Nonetheless an important movie.
The message is compelling, especially when viewed in the context of what was happening in CA in the mid 90's, re: Riots, O.J. Simpson trail, etc. Still relevant today, our lives are influenced directly, or indirectly, by corrupt people of power. Enjoyed the camera movements and the 90's soundtrack.
Pretty good police drama. A little more time needed to be devoted to the main character's transformation from a gung-ho cop to a concerned citizen. The atmosphere of paranoia reminded me of some of the films noir that Cornell Woolrich penned. The themes of police violence, racism and cover ups are especially relevant these days.
This good cop-bad cop movie was full of important topics that have not only stayed prevalent in today’s society, but it also has an underlying message about how much pressure minorities face in the position of a victim and in the opposite position, a cop. The character development, plot, and thrilling scenarios keeps the audience on its feet throughout the entire movie.