Photojournalist Melissa (Maiwenn) is assigned to follow Paris' child protection unit. Along with members of the team - including the volatile Fred (Joeystarr), tortured officer Iris (Foïs) and the unit's morally suspect commander - she's soon exposed to the city's tough underbelly.
Having proved herself a fearless director in her first two pictures, Maïwenn Le Besco tackles the topic of child abuse in this hard-hitting but not always sharply focused drama. Closer in spirit to The Wire than classic policiers like L.627, it examines the impact that investigating unspeakable crimes has on the members of a Parisian protection unit, several of whom are enduring crises of their own. Maïwenn becomes distracted by these personal problems and her own character, dissipating the power emanating from juvenile testimonies that are harrowing and hilarious.
Unsparing in its portrayal of the seedier side of French society, only Polisse's loose focus keeps it from matching The Class for emotional punch. It's still a worthy companion piece to TV police procedurals like Spiral.
Reviewed by Patrick Peters