Ernie and Joe (2019) SXSW 2019

I’ve seen a lot of documentaries so far in 2019 and Ernie and Joe is the first film I think has a shot at an Oscar. This portrait of two officers in the San Antonio Police Department’s Mental Health Unit is a quiet stunner. It’s a film that will open your eyes and make you wonder why other police departments aren’t doing the same thing.

Opening with the two men answering a call to a court house where a man with mental issues refuses to leave a waiting room because he doesn’t feel safe. The two men sit down with the man, winning his trust and assuring him that if he goes with them all would be alright. He trusts them and goes off with them. The film then follows the men through their days, at home, at seminars and on patrol.

I don’t know what to say except this is a great film.

Vital and important this is a film that shows us something that could change the way the police operate. This film clearly shows us how one properly trained officer can make a difference. At a seminar one of the officers tells the story of how a woman called 911 saying she was going to shoot herself. The police responded with a tactical squad plus many other additional officers. As they were trying to decide how to handle it he called the woman up and talked her into putting the gun down and coming out. What could have (and in other places would have) ended tragically ended happily. Granted that doesn’t always work, we do hear of lives lost, but we also have our eyes opened to the possibility of saving more lives.

But he film does more than just show us the men working. We get to see them at home as well where we see the lives they lead and the toll the job is taking on them. We get a sense of the people it takes to do this job effectively.

You must see this film. Not only must you see the film we must use it as a rallying cry to get the police to change what they are doing.

And yes I really think that if the Oscars can get their collective heads together and realize that the best films don’t always need to be flashy or music filled this film could be taking Oscar gold.

ERNIE AND JOE screens again today Sunday, March 10th at 3:00 PM at Alamo Lamar and Friday, March 15th at 6:00 PM at Alamo Lamar

Comments

  1. Is there any other screening options for those outside the San Antonio area?

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    1. At the moment I don't know. It just premiered so it's starting it's festival run. Check the website http://ernieandjoethefilm.com/ if they update. Also thee is contact form and email address. They'll be able to tell you.

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