By Jason Bailey
The numerous high-profile cases of police brutality and murder haven’t exactly gone unnoticed in the world of documentary film, but Camilla Hall’s documentary isn’t a retread – it’s about steps forward, specifically in the form of We Copwatch, an advocacy group that trains citizens in the particulars of observing and videotaping arrests and police encounters. They get a fair amount of pushback from the boys in blue (“You guys are safe now, you’re welcome,” sneers one, as they finish an observed arrest), which could’ve made for a compelling documentary by itself. But director Hall is more interested in the people who carry the cameras, particularly in the cases of Eric Garner and Freddie Gray, and spends much of the film telling their stories. They’re stories of tragedy and pain, but this is film neither without humor nor hope; it’s uplifting and emotional, and there’s a glimmer of possibility in an interaction with an officer near its end that turns both thoughtful and productive. It’s the tiniest glimmer. But it’s something.