Everyone loves to hate a dirty cop. It just so much easier than the alternative. The alternative you ask? To consider that every dirty cop is a human being. When the average Joe screws up, we can always revert back to that old phrase of them only being human. When it comes to people of authority? It's not quite as easy... even though it probably should be.
Perhaps it's knowing that cops, like us, are just normal people - that makes it that much more difficult to forgive. Those protecting us should have an elevated sense of morality right? For the average citizen, greed is a normal part of life. So is using - or abusing - any perceived power they/we may have. We're only human and learn from our mistakes. So in reality... why should a cop be any different? They have the authority- and power - given to them. Yet they are still people. People who get greedy sometimes. People who get caught up in the ease of everything, especially if they are given the means. When John Hancock screws up it's normal. He got greedy. His friends enabled him... but it will be fine. With cops? Not so much. That human aspect is erased from our minds. How could they do that? They should rot in prison forever. It's all very hard to explain - and that includes trying to explain or forgive a cops illegal activities. But as Kris Salvi's film points out... with these shady acts also comes a few other emotions of humanity. The human conscience for example. We can, and do feel bad for what we've done - or could do again. The other emotion? Self preservation. Take away all the legal drama and good cop bad cop fanfare - and that's the backing story "Bent" attempts to - and manages to tell. A story of humans. A story of mistakes made, conscience and self preservation.
The basic rundown? Two crooked cops bust into a drug dealers apartment and up the ante, by committing and a double murder. It's at this point that Brenda, one of the cops, realizes they've really went too far this time. Michael, her partner, really couldn't care less. Little does he know that he's already under investigation - and this could be the final straw. When internal affairs arrests Brenda, they offer her a choice. Wear a wire and get the needed evidence on her partner - or... go directly to jail. Considering the world of policing, the loyalty to that thin blue line is not to be taken lightly.
I always love it when I can write mostly good things about the production quality of an indie, low budget film. "Bent" is directed by Chris Esper. A name I know quite well. He seems to have a knack for taking plot lines I've seen before, and rehashing them into something with a much more unique feeling - than they probably would have had without him. Let's be honest here. "Bent" is nothing terribly new on the freshness scale - so it's always great when something makes it feel a little newer. Watching Chris hone his directing abilities over the years has been a treat. To say the least.
But that's not all! That gritty, down to earth reality feeling you hope comes included in the package? It's here! The camerawork, use of lighting and even pacing all make this short film feel so much larger. There's a real feeling of urgency and grit that "Bent" presents - something a lot of similarly themed movies lack. Even the occasional technical oopsies somehow manage to look right at home. The world of "Bent" isn't a perfect one - much like our own.
I should also touch on the cast themselves - and am glad to report nothing truly hokey happening here. I will say that some points during the main interrogation scene, felt a little over dramatic. But only just. Other than that, we have some realistic portrayals of some flawed human beings. Nobody in "Bent" is truly perfect. There's no real knight in shining armor - and that's how these characters are played. Nice work.
At the end of the day? "Bent" has that awkward gritty feeling so many try to emulate. It works, and is a definite entertainer. When it's all said and done? What more is there to write? Four out of five stars. Excellent work.