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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 18.37%
Average: 24.49%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

4 reviews, 25 user ratings

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by Matt Mulcahey

"The perfect movie for anyone who thinks all cops are pricks."
5 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2003 SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST FILM FESTIVAL: EvanHand is the antithesis of everything Hollywood cop movies have taught us about what it means to be a police officer. There are no crooked cops or corrupt bureaucracies, no expletive screaming captains and no massive shutouts, death-defying car chases or explosions.

Instead, EvenHand tells a leisurely paced story about regular, everyday beat cops and the lives they affect.

Which isnít to say nothing happens, in fact the filmís narrative, which follows a year in the life of a pair of San Lovisa, Texas officers, is an episodic journey through both the bizarre and the mundane experiences of its protagonists.

Intent on treating people with kindness and dignity, officer Rob Francis (Bill Dawes) has just transferred to a new precinct after a messy divorce. The well-meaning Francis is partnered with Officer Ted Morning (Bill Sage), San Lovisaís resident loose cannon, a quick-tempered iconoclast who disregards standard procedures for his own set of rules and sense of justice.

Despite the differing personalities of the partners, any worries of EvenHand turning into a buddy cop movie or a good cop/bad cop film quickly disintergrate.

The pair settle into a fairly regular routine, patrolling the lower class areas of San Lovisa and badgering teenage drug dealer Toby (Io Tiller Wright), refereeing the comical domestic spats of Irene Pena and Hector Garcia and aiding a suburban man whose neighbor continues to harass him.

As the movie progresses, both officers come to understand or at least appreciate the other's way of doing the job and Francis starts to see that beneath Morningís hostility and occasional mean-spiritedness lies an inherently decent man who is simply ill-equipped to deal with people.

As the philosophies of the two newly-partnered officers clash, so do the wildly divergent and quickly shifting tones of EvenHand.

Changing in the blink of an eye from smirkingly amusing to emotionally resonant, director Joseph Pierson captures the jarring shifts that are part of a police officerís daily existence. Just as these cops never know when a conversation about commemorative Dale Earnhardt cars will give way to a life or death situation, the audience never knows when the film will change from comical to tragic.

EvenHand is one of the only cop films to ever give a true representation of what it is like to be an officer, and the movieís greatest strength is its attention to detail, with Texas-native Mikes Jones' script based partly on his real-life experiences with the San Antonio police department.

But all of Jonesí keenly observed truths would mean nothing without the conviction the two lead actors bring to their roles.

Both spent weeks doing ridealongs with San Antonio cops, and that commitment to accuracy is evident throughout their performances as Dawes embodies naÔve idealism in the more low-key of the parts, allowing Sage to chew the scenery in an intense performance that is both fierce and vulnerable.

Despite allowing a glimpse inside the extremely human men and woman who protect and serve, EvenHand probably wonít change the fact that most people have an inherent aversion to authority and simply donít like cops.

However, anyone who is lucky enough to see EvenHand will certainly understand them a little bit better.

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originally posted: 03/27/03 08:31:30
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2003 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Tribeca Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/07/10 Stanley Kurpowski One of the most realistic cop movies ever made. 5 stars
6/22/10 not a cop Greay movie, realistic and humorous 5 stars
5/11/08 kenny hagen As a police officer who played a part in the movie, I feel it was right on the money. 5 stars
8/08/07 Roger Tighe Great film, as an officer myself it was spot on. 5 stars
6/10/07 matt sandlin great movie i am a police officer and morning seems like a partner i would like to ride wth 5 stars
8/08/06 Elizabeth S Excellent! 5 stars
4/26/05 Aaron Ker I thought this was an awesome movie, a little low budget but still awesome worthy of buying 5 stars
7/11/04 Antonio Reyes The movie, excellent! Why a fictional city name? I grew up in San Antonio and now a cop. 5 stars
6/08/04 Brock Lamont Movie is a alternate universe of San Antonio. Same cop cars, same city 5 stars
3/12/04 Linda Wonderful film. 5 stars
3/10/04 Ann T. Thrilled when I see a great piece of work. 5 stars
1/30/04 Frank Longoria I'm a Tx. cop and enjoyed the film immensely. 5 stars
1/30/04 kenny hagen i'm a cop and some of played in this movie they did a great job 5 stars
1/26/04 Brad Gronau I am a police officer and this film is a fairly accurate portrayal of everyday patrol. 5 stars
1/01/04 Chris Collins Excellent film and well worth seeing. 4 stars
12/20/03 Dickey Joe Turner I just finished watching. I'm a cop...It was real. 4 stars
12/20/03 Adrian & Lezah Medrano the police have a tough job and this film seems to touch on the reality of there lives. 5 stars
7/08/03 Gus Lopez Great film 5 stars
6/24/03 amita balla awesome 5 stars
6/17/03 Bethany I liked the fatal flaw between Office Morning & Toby. Morning trys to save him- he cannot 4 stars
5/29/03 Amita Balla The Bill and Bill show rocks 5 stars
5/20/03 Neil Manning Could have been just caricatures, but actors and writing give the film real depth. 5 stars
4/20/03 Matthew Jansky Very well directed, avoids common low-bud pitfalls and cliches. 5 stars
4/02/03 rachel gumina i enjoyed every minute. connecting with these characters was smooth. excellent film. 5 stars
3/26/03 Eric Gulley A highly original film that succeeds by avoiding the standard narrative progression 5 stars
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  20-Jan-2004 (R)
  DVD: 20-Jul-2004



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