Watching this, I thought the CCTV stuff – refreshingly – was just a plot device. No position taken, no politics involved. Sweep that aside. But then that last little shot of Jackie walking down a busy street, captured on camera, adds a circularity to the film. I noticed that it was about Jackie stepping out of her bug-eyed observation pod. From behind the camera to in front. Through the screen and into life.
This is a film about justice, and mercy, and grappling with your prejudices. It is political, and (at as stretch) about the big brother state, in that it tries to understand the mentality behind law-enforcement. The camera puts you at a distance, in the seat of omniscience, like Zeus deciding where to throw his thunderbolts. Observable actions determine your subjects' fate. Background, context, understanding, secondary. In the interview on the DVD, Andrea Arnold talked about her interest in... poverty, essentially. And the way the privileged project onto things they see but don't really understand. She tries to get beyond that, arrive at the truth. I think her film ends up as a metaphor for that endeavour.