The Force

Watch The Force

"A Film About The Oakland Police Department"
  • 2017
  • 1 hr 33 min
  • 6.8  (725)
  • 80

The Force is a 2017 documentary film that takes a closer look at the police department in Oakland, California. Directed by Peter Nicks, the film follows the lives of two police officers, as well as activists who are pushing for police reform in the city. The film opens with scenes of protests and unrest in Oakland, following the highly-publicized killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The city is still grappling with its own history of police brutality, exemplified by the case of Oscar Grant, a young black man who was shot and killed by a BART police officer on New Year's Day in 2009.

The two police officers at the center of the film are Juan and Johnny, who are part of the Oakland Police Department's elite SWAT team. They are shown participating in raids and arrests around the city, while also struggling to maintain their personal lives and mental health. Juan, a veteran officer who has seen many of his colleagues killed in the line of duty, is shown grappling with PTSD and addiction, while Johnny is shown dealing with the stress of patrolling neighborhoods that are known for gang violence.

Interspersed with these scenes are interviews with activists and community members, including Cat Brooks, a local organizer and founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project, and Ben McBride, a minister and former gang member who now works with the PICO National Network, a faith-based social justice organization. These interviews provide crucial context for the issues at the heart of The Force, highlighting the deep-rooted mistrust between the police and many communities of color in Oakland, as well as the need for systemic change.

Throughout the film, tensions between the police and activists come to a head, as the city attempts to implement reforms in the wake of a damning report by the federal Department of Justice. The report found that the Oakland Police Department had engaged in a pattern of excessive force, racial bias, and other abuses, and called for sweeping changes.

The Force ultimately concludes on a note of cautious optimism, with both sides acknowledging the immense challenges ahead, but also expressing hope that meaningful change is possible. The film offers a nuanced and empathetic portrayal of a complex and fraught issue, highlighting the humanity of both police officers and activists, and emphasizing the need for open dialogue and collaboration in order to achieve progress.

Overall, The Force is a powerful and important documentary that offers a timely exploration of one of the most pressing issues facing our country today. Through its intimate portrayal of the lives of the police and the community they serve, the film offers a nuanced and engaging look at the challenges facing law enforcement, while also shining a light on the urgent need for reform and accountability.

The Force is a 2017 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 33 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8 and a MetaScore of 80.

The Force
Where to Watch The Force
The Force is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Hulu, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Force for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    1 hr 33 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.8  (725)
  • Metascore