Netflix’s latest genre-bending offering, ‘A Cop Movie,’ is directed by Mexican filmmaker Alonso Ruizpalacios. The film is the third feature-length effort from Alonso, who has already been touted as one of the most exciting and inventive directors to have come through in Mexican cinema.
Simply put, ‘A Cop Movie’ is a docudrama about two officers in the Mexican police force recounting their journey. But Alonso does an excellent job of blurring the line between fact and fiction, keeping the viewers guessing throughout. So, if you’re wondering whether the film is rooted in reality, we’ve got that covered for you.
Is A Cop Movie Based on a True Story?
Yes, ‘A Cop Movie’ is based on a true story. The movie deals with the lives of two subjects, Teresa and Montoya, and their time on the police force. Teresa and Montoya were police officers in Mexico in reality before quitting in 2019. The majority of the film is dedicated to snippets from their life, shown through re-enactments with actors Mónica del Carmen and Raúl Briones, who turned in engaging performances as Teresa and Montoya.
Regarding choosing Teresa and Montoya as the subjects for the film, Alonso said, “Once we decided that we wanted to make a movie about the Mexican police, we interviewed a lot of cops, looking for the characters. There were some interesting people that we talked to, I have to say, but when we met Teresa and Montoya, it was love at first sight. There was something about the way they tell their stories that is so full of humor, and it’s a very self-effacing type of humor and at the same time very earnest. Also, the fact that there’s a love story in the middle of this was irresistible.”
For the film, Raúl and Mónica went through the immersive process of enlisting in a police academy and going through the training and riding along with actual police officers. The resulting experience meant a lot of unpredictability, with Alonso adding, “The film plays constantly with the boundaries of fiction and documentary, so there was a lot of spontaneous things that we shot that you cannot plan.” Another creative decision taken by the director was to have the real-life Teresa and Montoya narrate their stories, with Mónica and Raúl lip-synching throughout.
During their training, a jaded Raúl questions the adequacy of the length of the training program, something that rings all too true with reality. It was reported that police forces throughout Mexico didn’t meet the minimum requirements of the law. The corruption seems to be deep-rooted, with entire police departments being placed under arrest in an incident in Chihuahua, Mexico.
The general sense of doubt that the citizens have in the police is also touched upon in the film, with Alonso echoing a similar sentiment, “It was pretty much what most Mexicans’ attitudes and experiences are — we encounter them in the city in many circumstances on a daily basis; when you run a red light or there’s an accident. There is always this huge mistrust.” In the end, the film deftly portrays the broken system in place and the cogs themselves that have been affected by it.
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