TIFF review: Coppers

Alan Zweig's doc about retired Canadian police officers plays like an exercise in empathy

COPPERS DOCS D: Alan Zweig. Canada. 86 min. Sep 7, 7:15 pm, Scotiabank 13 Sep 12, 9 pm, Scotiabank 13 Sep 14, 4:15 pm, Scotiabank 14. Rating: NNNN

In his latest project, Toronto documentarian Zweig (A Hard Name, Hurt, There Is A House Here) interviews a dozen or so retired Canadian police officers, sitting down with them in their homes or riding along to the sites of former crime scenes. He asks them questions, they tell him stories. And we get a sense of what it’s like to do their job, which doesn’t sound very pleasant.

At a time when the police are presumed to be the enemy in almost every interaction with civilians – and not without evidence – Coppers might strike some as counter-propaganda. Instead, it plays like an exercise in empathy. Zweig lets us see these people as individuals who’ve experienced horrific things and come out the other side, or are still trying to make their way to some sort of peace.  

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