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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 Chris Parry

"The film that Super Troopers should have been."
3 stars

If the world of Hollywood was actually representative of the real world, 35% of the audience would be doctors, 30% would be lawyers, 25% would be cops and the rest would be hitmen. Strangely, with the exception of the Denis Leary's short-lived TV triumph The Job, nobody has really tackled the topic of cops with anything close to humor. Oh sure, you could point out the Police Academy flicks to you, but before you do, just remember that I said 'anything close to humor'. Evenhand is a cute little flick, funny enough to keep you giggling constantly, scripted well enough to keep you interested and performed with more panache than a film of this size and subject matter warrants. What's missing in Evenhand is one thing and one thing only... well, three things. They're called 'acts'.

Officer Rob Francis (Bill Dawes) has had a rough few months. A divorce has hit him rather hard, he's moved to a new precinct and he's got to get accustomed to a whole new partner. A partner who wouldn't be out of place snapping towels in a high school locker room. A partner who wears a moustache that wouldn't look out of place on a 'Village Person'. A partner who shoots the tazer first and asks questions later.

Officer Ted Morning (Bill Sage) is a freak. He detains a local junkie kid on a daily basis, cuffs him, psychologically tortures him, but never arrests him. He prefers playing mind games in a bid to teach the kid a lesson.

Not that he's alone. The precinct 'lunch club' consists of a bunch of cops who meet outside a crackhouse at 12:30, sit on lawnchairs and freak out the local junkies. There doesn't seem to be much point to their game, other than a little mindless torture, but such things make the days roll by a little quicker.

If this sounds a little like Super Troopers, that's because there are a lot of similarities between the two. Where they differ is that Evenhand very definitely has heart, not to mention some very entertaining humor that rises above the high school level.

Where Evenhand fails is in its very structure. See, nothing really happens until the last ten minutes. It's all character development, vignettes, funny scenes and mood, yet there's no real situation here beyond "my partner's a freak and I'm sad."

Both Sage and Dawes are fantastic in their roles. Sage manages to make one of the biggest jerks you'll ever see on film one of the saddest, and even sweetest. It's just a pity that the last ten minutes of this flick manages to tell you more about him than the first eighty-three.

As a directorial debut, Evenhand is most certainly an achievement, as well as an indicator of even better things in the future, but as a stand-alone feature to be ranked and judged alongside the greatest films of our time (a tough task to be sure), it lands firmly in the middle-ground. There's most certainly more to love than hate in Evenhand, and if you don't mind spending an hour plus getting to know some great characters rather than watching a movie, it's something you should look out for, but it won't blow your mind.

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originally posted: 03/11/03 06:35:48
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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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