Body Cam (2020)

Body Cam
Director: Malik Vitthal
Writer: Nicholas McCarthy, Richmond Riedel
Cast: Mary J. Blige, Nat Wolff, David Zayas, Anika Noni Rose, David Warshofsky, Ian Casselberry, Philip Fornah, Lara Grice, Demetrius Grosse
Seen on: 6.8.2020

Content Note: police brutality, racism

Renee (Mary J. Blige) just returned to duty as a police officer. After the death of ther son in an accident, she lost control on a suspect and needed some time away. But she feels ready to dive in, even if she isn’t happy that she is settled with rookie cop Danny (Nat Wolff) as a partner. On their first night on duty together, they get called to an abandoned cop car. They find blood, and finally their colleague’s body. Renee checks the footage of his body cam and sees a suspect and something inexplicable, but then the footage disappears. She realizes can’t help but investigate, even if she isn’t actually sanctioned to do so.

Body Cam is rather topical and has a couple of okay horror scenes, but overall the film is a mess – and I’ve rarely seen a film with acting this bad.

The film poster showing Renee (Mary J. Blige) and Danny (Nat Wolff) in police uniforms.

The story here takes on police brutality, racism, corruption within the police force. Given the Black Lives Matter protests, it should ring with topicality. It should be tapping right into the zeitgeist. But the film’s story is too muddled and simply not radical enough, leaving us with a “a few bad apples” plot that frustrates, mostly.

It frustrates because it is also badly written with flat characters and stilted dialogues and investigative clues that are so convenient, it is ridiculous. It frustrates because it barely uses the fact that Renee is a black woman and Danny a white man. It frustrates because the pacing is just no good. It frustrates because a lot of the film is darkly dressed people in the dark.

Renee (Mary J. Blige) and Danny (Nat Wolff) in their squad car.

Plus, the acting is so incredibly bad, if I hadn’t seen Blige and Wolff in other things where they are pretty good, I’d never believe it if you told me that they can actually act. I mean, they are probably not the greatest actors in the world, but usually they are above and beyond what they deliver here. I have to concede that they didn’t have much to work with given that script, but it was still painful to watch.

What can I say apart from the fact that he film just isn’t good? There are moments and scenes where it develops some potential, but it definitely isn’t enough to make the film actually worthwhile.

Renee (Mary J. Blige) doing some research at home.

Summarizing: better stay away.

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