Hustle & Flow (2005)
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Critic Reviews for Hustle & Flow
It's kind of a conventional story, but it's told in such a unique way and the locations in Memphis all feel very authentic.
Hustle & Flow suspends you in its spell of mood, of feeling, of climate. It's a pop picture that finds its richness in peeling down to the essentials of good storytelling.
Watching as a pimp, a pothead and a pregnant hooker play and sing in a makeshift bedroom recording studio, and becoming increasingly caught up in their determination and hope, it's impossible not to think that this is a part of the American Dream, too.
Every now and then, Brewer pulls off a near-miracle with his flinty characters: He lets us, for a moment, slip into their lives -- and sing their song.
Unlikely as this may sound, Hustle & Flow -- about a low-down Memphis pimp who wants to be a rapper -- is the feel-good movie of the summer.
What makes the picture sail past its flaws is its earnest understanding of the desperation that drives people to regain control of their lives -- and the profound courage required to attempt it.
Audience Reviews for Hustle & Flow
A pimp tries to make it as a rap star with the help of his hookers and an old friend from the neighborhood. Terrence Howard turns in a fantastic performance, utterly convincing as Djay, a pimp with musical aspirations. His character seems real, fleshed out, and interesting, and Howard's work carries the film. The story is fairly basic, but I think the biggest problem is its misogyny. The filmmakers have to be aware of the ridiculous irony inherent in having a prostitute sing "Whoop that trick!" or "It's hard out here from a pimp." It's too ironic to be unintentional, yet I can't figure out what the intention is. After all, the film identifies with Djay's journey to such a degree that I have a hard time thinking of this film as satire, and trying to prove that prostitutes become agents in their own denigration isn't a productive insight. Overall, this film is worth seeing if only for Terrence Howard.
DJay: I'm here trying to squeeze a dollar out of a dime, and I ain't even got a cent man. "Everybody gotta have a dream." Hustle & Flow is one of those movies that I didn't want to see end. The film had a lot going for it, from a natural knowledge of the small time hustlers and dealers to the surprisingly good music; and of course there's Terrence Howard in the role that really gave him a name. DJay is a smalltime pimp and drug dealer living in Memphis with three of his women and a small child. He's struggling with life as he enters a mid-life crisis because of a memory of his father dying at the age he is now. To try to improve his life, he begins rapping. He meets an old school friend who is now a gospel music producer, and brings him and another producer on to help make DJay's demo tape. This movie isn't overly original in anything it is doing, but the voice is good. The dialogue hits like a hard bass beat the whole film long. Especially when the words are coming out of Howard's mouth. Howard does a phenomenal job with his dialogue and the accent of the character. He basically is this movie and with it resting on his shoulders, it succeeds. The content isn't for everyone as there's a lot of demeaning language toward women and what not, but it can't be slandered for its content. The content is dead on and this fictional story of a hustler turned actor has a basis in real life as many rappers used to be exactly what DJay is. As far as a urban, music, crime drama goes; Hustle & Flow is an entertaining and well-made one to get into.
I hesitated for 8 years before finally seeing Craig Brewer's debut and I have to say I was very impressed. The biggest surprise to me was the amazing dialogue (written by Brewer as well), it's like if Tarantino made a film about southern hip hop, this would be it. Great performances by the entire cast.
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