Precinct Seven Five characterises the rise and fall of Michael Dowd, a New York police officer working in the toughest neighbourhood in the city during the crack cocaine explosion of the 80s and 90s. By exploiting holes in the system, protecting drug lords, abusing the trust of his colleagues and taking whatever the fuck he wanted, Dowd became known as “The Dirtiest Cop Ever”.
Dowd’s story of how he became so crooked is so amazingly unbelievable, and had it been shown through film rather than a documentary, it would hold very little credibility. I thoroughly enjoy documentaries but I have never seen one as gripping and raw as this one. Dowd’s actions are told through the words of the man himself, retelling the tales of his and his associates’ actions in graphic detail. There is such enthusiasm and smugness in how the accounts are told, it’s like the dirty cops are war veterans telling their grandchildren proud war stories. Ken Eurell, Dowd’s partner in the police and in crime, gives the audience a clear insight to his demise as a police officer as he and Dowd fell further into the world of drug trafficking. Dominican drug lord Adam Diaz offers his version of events, a man whose money was endless and knew that protection from the cops would lead him straight to the top.
The documentary has the advantage of using real crime scene footage, Dowd’s trial and interviews with both those working with and against him. Some the interviewees seem to hold some amount of guilt and remorse, but most were so nonchalant about the incidents. Terrifying to think that these were the people responsible for providing law and order in one of the most renowned cities in the world.
With themes very similar to those of Training Day and American Gangster, any fan that genre should see Precinct Seven Five. Granted, it doesn’t have an all-star cast. There’s no Antoine Fuqua or Ridley Scott directing a masterpiece and there’s certainly no Denzel delivering a performance that only he can deliver. However, there is an incredible true story to be told. It is a genuine, gritty representation of how blurred the line between cop and criminal was during this time. Hold tight and enjoy the ride; it is fucking intense.
4 / 5
Dir: Tiller Russell
Featuring: Michael Dowd, Ken Eurell, Walter Yurkiw
Prd: Eli Holzman, Aaron Saidman, Sheldon Yellen
DOP: Igor Martinovic
Music: Amy Marie Beauchamp, Jose Cancela
Run time: 104 mins
Precinct Seven Five is out to download now and on DVD 28 Dec.