Shorta is a Danish film which follows two police officers who are on a routine patrol. This is while the news story of a young Muslim boy who has been severely injured while being detained by the police is in constant circulation. What some claim to be police brutality has caused tensions between the Muslim community and the police. The officers go through the neighbourhood where the hospitalised boy is from and after the more hot-headed of the pair is overly aggressive toward a local youth, events start to escalate and the the officers must fight for their lives in a hostile neighbourhood.
This film is certainly going to tug on a few heart strings thanks to certain recent events regarding public relations with the police. It’s definitely no coincidence how timely this is, but it’s fascinating that it should come from Denmark instead of the UK or the US. The story even begins with a young black man being tackled by the police screaming that he can’t breathe. That’s why it’s great that Shorta didn’t go the easy route when tackling a subject like police brutality.
Shorta could easily have portrayed both of its officers as mad racists who fling out their truncheons at the mere sight of someone who isn’t white. This isn’t the case in the slightest. Both Mike and Jens are well rounded characters with motivations and personalities. Jens is similar to Simon Pegg’s character in Hot Fuzz. He’s a no nonsense, by the books copper who only wants to keep the country safe for his wife and his future children. Mike certainly starts off as a bit of a brute who’s clearly had experience with dealing with a lot of criminals which has taken a toll on his attitudes toward particular types of people. Though as the film goes on, he begins to become a much more understanding person as he sees what it’s like for the people who he would previously have no problem arresting.
Shorta also doesn’t preach its themes at you. The ideas of the police’s relationship with the public is always in the background of the film, but at its heart, Shorta is a gut-wrenching and heart stopping thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat from the word go. A lot of the scenes are very reminiscent of something from a Christopher Nolan film, a pumping orchestral soundtrack accompanying heart racing action.
There isn’t actually much pure action in the film, but the whole film is incredibly tense. Moments of terror are littered throughout Shorta added with several very well timed jump scares. These include various heavy objects hitting windshields suddenly, making them very realistic jumps compared to the kind that have plagued main stream horror lately.
Shorta is a fantastically a written, acted, scored and directed thriller. Though it goes on for just a little bit too long, it’s still very much Denmark’s exquisite and politically edged answer to The Raid and Dread and should be viewed instantly by anyone even vaguely interested, but maybe not if you have a heart condition.
Shorta will be released in cinemas on September 3rd.