Tiller Russell’s documentary Precinct Seven Five, chronicles the depths of corruption in New York’s Precinct Seven Five during the 80s.
There’s been some pretty unflattering, fictional, tales of corruption in the NYPD over the decades. In the face of what was actually happening, they seem pretty tame.
During the 1980s, New York was not a safe place, with upwards of 3,500 murders a year, the very people meant to protect the city were engaged in extortion, drug trafficking and theft.
Instead of presenting us with a simple, moralising tale, Russell has achieved something of a coup by persuading drug dealers, police officers and internal affairs investigators to appear in the documentary. The jewel in the crown though is Michael Dowd, described by one of his former colleagues as ‘a once in a generation corrupt cop.’
Speaking over a decade after his nefarious deeds were brought to light Dowd positively revels in reminiscing about his time at Precinct Seven Five. If there’s one thing missing thought its Russell’s lack of any focus on those affected by the corruption and violence, choosing instead to focus on the men who perpetrated it.
There’s a huge treasure trove of archived articles and news reel footage for Russell to play with here and his pacing skips along from start to finish.
A superlative delve into the NYPD’s darkest hours. Russell’s documentary makes for compelling viewing that leaves you feeling slightly ill at ease.
Director: Tiller Russell
Running Time: 104 minutes
Release Date: Out to Download 14th December and on DVD and On Demand 28th December 2015