At The Ready

At The Ready

2021, NR, 96 min. Directed by Maisie Crow.

REVIEWED By Adrienne Hunter, Fri., Oct. 22, 2021

A cohort of Texas high school students are eager to prepare themselves for a career in law enforcement. These teens look up to the instructors of their law enforcement classes, as they are not only guided toward a life of policing but bond as a group, all as the limits of their values and identities are tested.

At the Ready follows a group of students who are enrolled, or have been enrolled, in the Criminal Justice Club at Horizon High School in El Paso, Texas. The film chronicles their lives as they take this course, with the Beto-Cruz election, family struggles, exploration of identity, and other conflicts influencing their experiences in the background.

Masie Crow's Sundance-selected documentary thrives on providing such depth and nuance to very real students with very real experiences. One subject, Kassy, is put at a crossroads. She learns lessons and hears rhetoric from her instructors that prevent her from being able to express her identities and values, but she feels a sense of obligation to pursue a career in law enforcement. It is situations like these that make for a heartbreaking and suspenseful entry point for viewers to learn about these individuals.

Crow is so successful in patiently capturing subjects like Kassy, placed in extremely difficult positions, in a grounded manner that illustrates how nuanced the contexts of these issues are. While her methodical approach might be frustrating for some with pre-existing opinions on issues explored in the film, it is that patience that leads to such a powerful and impactful ending that perfectly captures the complex lives of the students of Horizon High School.

Available on VOD now. Read our interview with Maisie Crow, "At the Ready Gets in the Uniform Boots of Texas’ High School Cops," Jan. 22,

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At The Ready, Maisie Crow

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