Sprawling, immediate, and complex, Peter Nicks’s vérité documentary moves like a pulsing, timely thriller. In 2014, after over a decade of federal monitoring for misconduct and civil rights abuses, the Oakland Police Department hires Chief Sean Whent … in hopes of bridging a historically tense divide between its officers and the community they serve. The Force captures everything; it hovers over Oakland’s evening skies and rides inside speeding police vehicles, granting viewers breathless firsthand access to some of law enforcement’s most dangerous jobs. With fly-on-the-wall intimacy, we see a department trapped in transition, desperate to shed its corrupt image, but also challenged by an increasingly organized and urgent Black Lives Matter movement erupting right outside its doorstep.

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