With the spin of grief manifesting itself, “Body Cam” explores police brutality and the conflicting emotions of a Black female officer.
|Screenplay By||Richmond Riedel, Nicholas McCarthy|
|Date Released (Digital)||5/19/2020|
|Genre(s)||Crime, Horror, Mystery, Thriller|
|Duration||1 Hour, 36 Minutes|
|Officer Renee Lomito-Smith||Mary J. Blige|
|Officer Danny Holledge||Nat Wolff|
|Taneesha||Anika Noni Rose|
|Officer Penda||David Warshofsky|
|Sergeant Kesper||David Zaya|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
After being suspended 8 months, Officer Renee Lomito-Smith is finally let back on the force and damn if she isn’t paired with a rookie, Officer Holledge. Someone who, like Officer Lomito-Smith, is dealing with a very agitated populace in Swinton, LA. Which makes the discovery of a brutalized cop the start of an investigation that goes beyond excessive use of force and takes shows what pain can manifest when someone is on edge.
Officer Renee Lomito-Smith (Mary J. Blige)
Recently grief-struck, Officer Lomito-Smith is desperate to get back to work for, after 8 months, staying home, forced to deal with what’s absent in her life, it is driving her crazy. But, little does she know, within 48 hours of returning, what demons she’s dealing with at home will be nothing compared to what she encounters.
Officer Danny Holledge (Nat Wolff)
A recent addition to the Swinton, LA police force who is still adjusting to the dynamics of his peers and the sense of brotherhood they reinforce in all matters.
Taneesha (Anika Noni Rose)
A mother who recently lost her son, who she was very protective over, that has been some form of shell-shocked ever since.
Demarco (Mason Mackie)
Taneesha’s son, who was 14, deaf and, according to his pastor, heavily into community service and volunteering.
Officer Penda (David Warshofsky)
One of Renee’s peers, who, naturally, bust her chops about her suspension, and is someone Danny formerly worked with.
Sergeant Kesper (David Zaya)
The boss of Penda, Danny, and Renee, who, after a cop was cleared of a local incident, would like his team to not cause any trouble that could make the natives restless.
There Are A Few Jump Scares
I’m not going to lie, there were a few times I had to pause this movie and just go “Nope” because I saw Mary J. Blige’s name and was expecting something like “Black and Blue.” However, this has horror elements and not just in the form of gore but deciding to employ jump scares. Some of which, naturally, are expected since you can see the setup. But, for those who are jumpy, the music changing, or seeing shadowy figures in the distance, none of it really preps your nerves for what comes next.
Officer Renee Lomito-Smith Is Built Up Well
With police brutality being a constant news headline, especially when violence is done against Black people, it always makes the appearance of a Black cop, one that is a woman at that, so interesting. After all, the face of the survivors are usually mothers or daughters, if not wives. So in address Officer Renee’s past with violence and seeing how a neighborhood reacts to her, you get to see both her humanity and the god-like powers police officers wield. The type of power that doesn’t make them revered but feared and ostracized.
Thus making Officer Renee’s journey all the more complicated as she sees someone she is close to dead, but discovers the serial killer’s reasons.
Taneesha & The Plight Of Surviving Parents
Let me note, “Body Cam” is not a drama, so while it doesn’t allow Officer Renee or Taneesha to be shallow, it doesn’t go as deep as it could. But, even with that said, Taneesha’s pain is utilized in a fairly unique way. At least when it comes to films dealing with police officers who are either corrupt or abuse their power.
Case in point, how “Body Cam” deals with Taneesha’s trauma, and that of her son Demarco, to bring a new narrative to what is a, sadly, familiar story.
This Is The Kind Of Film You Wished Was Released In A Theater
If you’re like me, you enjoy commentary while in a movie, as long as it is good or funny. “Body Cam,” is the kind of film you can imagine the person behind you making some hilarious joke about. This often implies a film is campy in some way, but that isn’t the case here. More so, as much as we enjoy watching a film from the comfort of our own home, movies like “Body Cam” remind you of the joy that comes from you not being alone in your thoughts or feelings about a situation.
On The Fence
You May Have An Issue Grasping Who Is Who, Beyond Lomito-Smith, Danny, and Taneesha
From Danny and Renee’s peers, to their boss, without subtitles, or being someone good with names and faces, you may often say, “Who?” For those people, they aren’t given much, if any, backstory. Many exist in that realm of you wondering if you should take note of them or if their existence is purely to show Danny and Renee aren’t the only cops in town. Making it so when their lives are threatened, or someone’s name is said, due to it being important to the plot, you find yourself going through a mental Rolodex to try to figure out who they are talking about.
Would Watch Again? – One and Done
Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)
What pushes this into “Worth Seeing” territory for us is that, rather than be considered a horror due to the fear many Black and Brown people have of a cop killing us, or someone we know, it is a literal horror film. One which has a demonic or supernatural being and all that the horror genre is well known for. All the while keeping our lead developed enough to gain an attachment, beyond who is playing them, and making the person who is doing the murders sympathetic. And while, yes, many characters you may have a hard time grasping the importance of, by the end of the film, who is who becomes clear.