Slam (1998) - Rotten Tomatoes

Slam (1998)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

SLAM centers on Raymond Joshua, a gifted rapper/poet in Washington D.C. who is arrested on a petty drug charge and is swallowed up by the capital's criminal justice system. In prison, he meets Lauren Bell, a beautiful writing teacher who recognizes Raymond's unique talents and inspires him to use his unique power of creative expression.more
Rating: R (for pervasive language, a sex scene and brief violence)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Marc Levin, Richard Stratton, Sonja Sohn, Saul Williams
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 23, 1999


Saul Williams
as Ray Joshua
Sonja Sohn
as Lauren Bell
Beau Sia
as Jimmy Huang
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Critic Reviews for Slam

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (16)

Part gritty prison drama, part inner-city chronicle, the energetic Slam defies easy categorization, serving as a compelling plea for black males of how to survive in oppressive society. The film won the 1998 Sundance Jury Award for Best Drama.

Full Review… | December 1, 2006
Top Critic

Full Review… | July 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

January 1, 2000
USA Today
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Detroit News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Slam

A brilliant masterpiece of independent black cimema. This was a film that had a strong cast(real-life poet Saul Williams and also Sonja Sohn of HBO's The Wire) with compelling subject matter complete with a killer soundtrack(featuring the sounds of the DC "go-go" and other artists)not to mention some of the most capitvating over-the-top rap poetry ever witnessed.
All set within the most corrupt city in America--our nation's capital.

Mister Caple

Super Reviewer


The fiction element of the film, instead of driving Levin to deeper truths, delivers him toward triteness and manipulation.

How can you use your passion for good? Ray Joshua, the main character in the adequate movie "Slam", played by Saul Williams, uses his passion of poetry in ways where he does not only benefit himself, but he also reaches out to other people. Ray Joshua lives in the tough streets and sold weed to keep his self alive and surviving. One day while he was trying to make a play, his dealer gets shot unexpectedly. From everyone else's point of view it looks like Ray Joshua was the one who shot him. When Ray tries to run, the police catch up and send him to do time. While in prison Ray learns a few things about himself, including how he can use poetry to stop violence.
The movie suggests that everyone should use their talents for good. They shouldn't let everything around them define them. Ray Joshua was surrounded by violence, and drugs all the time because he was a drug dealer himself. He didn't define himself as a criminal; he defined himself as a man from the streets who sells drugs to survive. During the movie Ray says that he shouldn't be locked up just for selling drugs. "There are people who are doing things way worse who should be locked up!" He suggest that the police are wasting their time trying to get Ray locked up.
My favorite part of the movie was the prison scene where Ray Joshua is lonely, and two rival gangs approach each other about to fight and Ray uses his poetry to calm them down and stop. I feel like I can relate to Ray personally because I also write poetry like he does. I use it for something just more than entertainment. I would recommend this movie to anybody and everybody. It is a good and interesting movie from the beginning to end.

Bob D.
Bob De-Smith

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