Welcome To Flint
The Rat Pack
Death and Homicide
The Stand Off
Much like last year’s hard-hitting Netflix documentary series Shot In The Dark, Flint Town is an unflinching look at the hardships facing a police force at breaking point. Taking place in Flint Town nestled in the state of Michigan, this 8 part documentary follows the lives of police officers hit hard by cuts that have seen their police force shrink substantially, struggling to tackle rising crime rates. Flint Town shows overarching issues affecting the police force including societal and political pressures right down to individual fears and concerns of officers making for a rich, informative view of the police force on a whole. Boasting slick editing and some really nice cinematography, Flint Town is a great and often exhaustingly informative documentary series.
Sporadically jumping between 2016 and times up until Trump’s inauguration in January 2017 as president, the 8 episodes follow an unconventional format; one episode sees an in depth look at the Presidential campaign where Trump is sworn in and the next episode jumps back to mid-2016 amidst a water issue explored earlier in the series. There are numerous moments like this and although the series works well on the whole, it can be a little jarring if you’re not expecting the back and forth jumps. Still, there’s a consistency to the way each episode is presented and Flint Town tackles a host of different issues affecting the town making this a minor point rather than a hindrance to the series.
Flint Town does take some influence from fellow Netflix documentary series Shot In The Dark and the visual style is reminisce of last year’s fast-paced series. Whether it be the myriad of establishing shots showing Flint at different times during the year or the harsh black backgrounds with back-lit officers standing facing the camera to share their own personal stories, Flint Town has a real crisp finish to it, giving it an artistic edge over other real-life crime dramas like this.
What’s really interesting here is the way Flint Town looks not just at the issues affecting the town and police department as a whole but also numerous officers within the department following their day to day life. With police cuts and an uneasy cloud of dread hanging over many of the officers as their futures remain uncertain in the political unrest gripping America, Flint Town manages to establish some real empathy for the various officers, helping to show a side of them that’s rarely captured on camera and showcased to the world. It would be easy to tarnish all police officers with the same brush and call them trigger happy and crooked and interestingly Flint Town’s self awareness of the police being portrayed in this way is spoken about at length during the series. Everything from the Black Lives Matter movement to Trump’s campaign up to police killings throughout 2016 are explored in detail and the merging of larger issues with the way each officer feels about these problems is partly the reason Flint Town works as well as it does.
With so much crammed into 8 episodes, Flint Town is certainly a difficult show to sit and binge in one go. This is a series that’s worth taking your time with thanks to the exhaustive amount of information crammed into each episode and the deliberately methodical pace the series has to make every scene as hard hitting as possible. Flint Town isn’t without its problems and sometimes the slow pace coupled with the sporadic jumps back and forth in time does dampen some of the more intense moments but its hard not to become absorbed with this documentary series. Flint Town is a brutal, relentless onslaught of shock, disbelief and engrossment that’s sure to appeal to anyone willing to take their time with this one.
Verdict - 8/10