Law & Order

Frederick Wiseman’s third documentary feature (1969) considers the work of beat cops (almost all of them white) in Kansas City, Missouri, specifically their use of physical force in detaining arrestees (almost all of them black). Because Wiseman rarely divulges why the police have been called, the viewer is forced to confront his own fundamental views of American race relations and the legitimacy of police authority. This features passages of ultra-black comedy as morally unsettling as anything in Stanley Kubrick’s filmography, and it contains some of Wiseman’s most aggressive experiments in editing and sound design, the jarring stylization making the content even more potent.