Director Deon Taylor knows the importance of the black and blue line. That is, a phrase referring to the police force holding back chaos in society; the balance between those who uphold the law and people who simply exist around the law. Taylor wants to show the good and the ugly on both sides.
After some of the troubling news of citizens getting shot by cops unnecessarily, Taylor also wants to make regular people aware of the struggle between cops and the average person by highlighting body cam footage in his latest film, Black and Blue.
“It’s the first movie to actually is, is actually using the body cam footage, um, as a character in the film,” Taylor told Popcorn Talk Network. “It was important to me for a lot of different reasons. A few months before we did Black and Blue, a young kid named Stephon Clark was killed in Sacramento, California. He was shot twenty-eight times, uh, in the backyard of his grandmother’s house.”
The story with Clark is quite a sad one. As reported by CNN, a caller reported that a young man wearing a black hoodie was going around breaking car windows. Police dispatched to the scene came across somebody wearing a black hoodie—Clark—and he ran into the back of a house. Police asked to see Clark’s hands and when he brought them up, they thought he was pointing a gun at them, and shot and killed the 22-year-old. The item turned out to be a cell phone. The Sacramento County Coroner said Clark was shot seven times, including three times to the right side of the back. Police maintain Clark was the suspect who had broken into several vehicles.
In the film, a female cop—who is wearing a body cam—catches a shooting she isn’t supposed to see. For the rest of the film, she races to avoid the cops, the blue, who want nothing more than to get back the body cam before the wrong person sees it. On the flip side, the regular people in society also want nothing to do with her because of her association with the blue.
Taylor continued, mentioning it wasn’t just the Clark case that makes the body cam element in his film so important.
“And before that, you know, obviously, you know, we have had too many, too, too many murders to even have a conversation about on this show,” Taylor added. “Which brought, which to me was a little bit weird in a sense to where we have to begin to say, ok, who’s human and who’s not? What’s really going on? What does the black and blue line represent.”
The black and blue line—also known as the Thin Blue Line—is a term alluding to the Thin Red Line dating back to the Crimean War which had to do with the British (the “red” line) holding off an attack from the Russians. Now, the “blue” in the phrase refers to police brutality. The term has since evolved into what we think of in modern times as the battle between cops and people.
“The reality is when, um, these people are being killed, there’s five or six officers standing right behind them with body cams,” Taylor admitted. “At some point someone has to actually say, ‘hey man, I actually knew that dude. I walked by this block every day.”
Black and Blue addresses these questions and more, and Taylor hopes it will lead to more people asking questions and society trying to answer these all-too-common questions.
You can now catch Black and Blue in theaters. Be sure to check out the film and catch the interview with Taylor on Popcorn Talk Network.