Coming to cinemas this Friday is Shorta. This film from first-time feature directors Anders Olholm and Frederik Louis Hiviid is about two cops stuck in a neighbourhood that turns into a warzone. The reason for this is a young teen dying from injuries he sustained from a brutal arrest.
Shorta stars Simon Sears and Jacob Lohmann as officer Jens Hoyers and officer Mike Andersen. These are two officers put together who don’t particularly like each other. Hoyers is a by the numbers officer who sees Andersen and his friends in the force as something of an embarrassment.
Andersen has a lot of prejudices against the people he is supposed to protect. He is someone difficult to work with and Hoyers from the beginning of the film does not care for him. So when they find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time they have to rely on each other and a teenager Andersen wrongfully arrested to survive.
Shorta is a rare film. It’s a film you don’t see coming. It wasn’t on my radar and I hadn’t watched a trailer beforehand. So when I sat down and watched this film I was thoroughly impressed by it. It explores systemic racism that is built into society. It has interesting characters with engaging journeys and it also has some impressive action set pieces. People who watch Shorta may be reminded of films like The Warriors. After all the film is about a small group of characters trying to survive as various groups are trying to kill them all the while they’re trying to reach a safe zone.
One moment of violence
Shorta spirals out of control from one moment that changes the course of these two officer’s day. The film is incredibly tense and this is achieved by a style of camera work known as ‘The Third Officer’. This third officer can follow Hoyer and Andersen in interesting ways. It feels like you’re on the body cam of another officer as they chase down people or when they are running away from danger. It’s intense and surprisingly easy to follow. It’s not shaky cam so it’s nowhere near as disorientating.
Perhaps the best part of the film is its cast. Directors Anders and Frederik found the perfect double act with Simon Sears and Jacob Lohmann. Sears sells the no-nonsense and supposedly noble officer Hoyer. As the day wears him down though he taps into something far darker at times and there is one scene involving himself and teenager Amos (Tarek Zayat) that is emotionally charged and cemented this film for me as one of the best of the year.
With regards to his partner Andersen this guy is the guy you love to hate. Everyone knows someone like Andersen and they usually have to put up with him, so in a life or death situation like they find themselves in Shorta he is a serious problem. Lohmann brings a lot of weight to this character and when it’s time to further explore the nuances of him the film finds fascinating (if convoluted) ways to explore him. This gives the audience breathing time to show him as a person, not just a character.
Directors Anders and Frederik have put their best forward with Shorta. It is a brilliant film with a surprising emotional punch and engaging characters. This Friday you might be interested to see other films at the cinema but I recommend you see this one.
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