Crime and Punishment is billed as a documentary, but it is more a series of scenes filmed and barely edited. If I had not read the blurb in the MIFF guide, I would not have any idea of the topic at all – and it is a really interesting topic. It’s a shame that it hasn’t been shown well in the film.
Set in a small town in China, the director has followed a group of young police as they deal with some of the issues that the police have to face. We see several cases being handled by very young and disorganised officers. What is not clear in the film is that these young men are lured into the force with the promise of a career, but after a few years many are discarded and new young men hired. There is little consistency and the soldiers are wearing uniforms that barely fit.
If the footage had been edited and some further information provided, it would have been a fascinating insight into this world. The way it is now, it is a series of vaguely related events.