Sunday, February 05, 2006

Pooh on Film: Hustle & Flow

I think this Hustle & Flow probably should replace the group I listed for "rags to riches" stories in my "American Films" list. Maybe it's because I'm more of a cinema verite guy anyway, but I find the rags-to-hand-me-downs story more compelling. The first half of a Behind the Music is always better than the second.

Further, I find that a good way to determine whether a movie worked on you is whether you are wondering what happens to these characters next. Now obviously, there are some films wherein this doesn't hold, such as Citizen Kane. He's dead, what could happen next? Similarly, we get all the 'next' we needed, and probably a fair bit more from Return of the King. But in others, like The Fugitive, or Gosford Park, you’re left wondering how Richard Kimble gets on with his life, or what becomes of those so very proper Brits.

Hustle & Flow is like that, it ends at a beginning of sorts. Does DJ go on to Nas-like greatness, does he sell out like the fictional Skinny Black, or does he have his 15 minutes and then is never heard from again. A great, great film. Terrance Howard is better in this than he was in Crash (where I thought the best performances were Ludacris and Larenz Tate, but who listens to me?) He raps convincingly, which is no mean feat – there is a distinct art to ‘flowing’ (which was hinted at in 8 Mile, but covered in more depth here).

Also of note is the film is essentially about the process of making the film. The director Craig Brewer, is a Memphian(?), and he hustled his way to make an independent film before John Singleton signed on to produce and finance this one.

I’d also like to echo Brewer in his sentiments that hip hop is not art, consider the intro lyrics the title song (composed by Memphis artist Al Kapone):

Look this is my life, and it's a battle within
I gotta survive, even if I'm sinnin to win
And if I show no remorse I reap the devil's reward
He said he'd, give me riches but I'm lookin for more
Tell me that’s not street poetry.

Pooh’s View: Superb. I’m very intrigued to see Brewer’s next effort, “Black Snake Moan.” Blues, sex and voodoo, with Sam Jackson as a old bluesman? Sign me up.


reader_iam said...

Nice job. Makes me want to see the flick.

Lauren said...

Hmm...there was something about this film that rubbed me the wrong way. I dunno - movies with John Singleton's name attached never portray women very well...

Lauren said...

update: I am watching it as I blog - the end is sort of good!

Pooh said...

I can see that. The director described it as a "stand by your man" type of me. So not exactly progressive in that regard.

Pooh said...

er movie. Type of movie. I type goot.