17 Mar 2022
Glenn Ganley & Samuel Rees
Robin Nicolle, Alexandra Jolly. Casey Stevenson
It’s always the sad, small little people who let power go to their heads. From that one overbearing boss we’ve all had, to the guy overcompensating for his fragile machismo by starting a war in Ukraine – there’s just some people who should never be trusted with authority. Honest Police is the story of one such individual - a wannabe cop who can’t bare to see the slightest infractions go unpunished.
A mysterious man named Kevin (Robin Nicolle) roams the streets day and night dressed in a cheap policeman’s uniform, in search of wrongdoers and rulebreakers. However, his victims are not committing crimes – and are instead guilty of only minor lapses of dishonesty, such as not using a seatbelt when changing parking spaces, or failing to report the wrong change from a shop. The ‘honest cop’ lays down his interpretation of the law – but the real deal police are wise to him, and hot on his tail.
Its difficult to nail down exactly what Honest Police is trying to accomplish. As a comedy, it enjoys minor success with its farcical portrayal of a nobody who yearns for the power and respect a police uniform brings, and laughs do ensue from the overzealousness of Robin Nicolle’s straight-faced yet ludicrous performance. But the film lacks any real statement where it feels like one should be. There is no developed commentary on the role of police in society, or on the macho nature of power and how this corrupts.
Any drama the film attempts to imbue is undercut by a confusing and illogical plot which goes nowhere and gives little context or information to the story. We know nothing of the honest cop’s motivations or background, and therefore it is hard to reach any sort of opinion on him as protagonist or antagonist. The story side-tracks to a halt when exploring the love-life of random victims Robbie (Casey Stevenson) and Jessica (Alexandra Jolly), in one particularly painfully-acted scene which appears to have been included solely to provide for an even more confusing twist-ending. The plot itself is unsatisfactory, but the structuring issues here make it illegible.
Given the smaller budget of the film, the production quality is impressive and works as an asset to the film. The honest cop’s blatantly cheap uniform contrasts well with the professional-looking uniforms of the legitimate officers and adds a solid layer of gag to the cop’s tyrannical actions. A recurring 70s-style funk soundtrack never gets old, and is easy to imagine playing in the cop’s head as he lives out his likely TV-show inspired dream of police life. And the film creates a frantic pace for its chase scenes with smart editing choices. There are however some botches evident, such as failure to balance the sound levels, and the seeming inclusion of a flubbed line at one point.
There’s a cheesy charm to Honest Cop, and the irreverent sense of humour it boasts is worth a few genuine laughs. But poor acting, and lack of any meaningful story or themes mean it is ultimately forgettable and messy.