Hustle & Flow Reviews
Came out of nowhere, good film
What really makes the whole thing as compelling as it is, is indeed, Terrence Howard, not only is his performance very real and you can sense that he felt every moment of it. It's also that he is written in a complex way and isn't always the likeable hero. He does things that are stupid, selfish and down right aggressive but it just adds to the character and keeps enforcing the real life aspect of it all. No matter how nice a person is they will always have a bad day and snap once in awhile, no one is nice all the time. Even though on the whole I think it's a good thing he's written like this, sometimes I felt like he garnered little sympathy from me at times because of how unlikable he is in spots. You wanna root for the good guy but when the good guy is complex, isn't really all that likeable and isn't really a 'good guy' by definition, it becomes complicated. Nevertheless, you feel for the guy all throughout of the film because of his troubled life and his determination to fight for his dream.
Not only Howard but everyone does great here. Everyone gets a little funny pieces of dialogue now and then, most of them get developed- all the main ones anyway and the dialogue is really snappy. The way these people talk, again, feels real. Not a lot of it feels manufactured for a Hollywood film. DJ Qualls played a very convincing school student and even now he still looks young, he was great casting. Anthony Anderson was great too and it's always great seeing him in a film, Taraji P. Henson was excellent and played a very emotive character, Taryn Manning was very sympathetic and Elise Neal was really funny and had great dialogue. There are some I have left out because literally everyone is good here and I'd just be naming everyone involved really. The whole cast is amazing.
The script is really good, not only for dialogue but for how some of the scenes play out. It's a very hard film to watch with powerful striking imagery of where the film takes place and what life is like in places like this. Everything works amazingly here, it was a perfect combination of real emotion and powerful acting with a scenario and story that's so well crafted it really does get to you in some way or another. All the technicals are perfect, one of the first things I noticed is how rich the colors of the film look and how stylised the cinematography and lighting was. It all comes together to, again, make everything feel real and it looks amazing. The film is very rich in tone and atmosphere. And of course! The music was absolutely excellent, I was really getting into some of these songs and I knew some of these before I saw the film I couldn't help but hum along at some points.
The only complaint I can even think of is that about with 25 minutes left of the film to go, it got a little slow and nothing seemed to really happen for a little bit, but the very unconventional ending happened, which took me by surprise and at first I wasn't really liking because I thought that all I watched was just a waste of time but turns out it wasn't, it fits with the theme perfectly and it picked back up again so I don't really know if they even count as a negative because they both cancelled each other out anyway. I did say about how Terrence's character earlier but I don't think it's all bad, it works for the story.
It's a very engrossing rags to riches story that feels very real, for once, and isn't just a very vanilla happy easy story of the underdog just being a nice person and coming through in the end; no. Hustle & Flow is a very powerful film with striking imagery, powerful acting and great music. It's a really great achievement in filmmaking. Chris Brewer is really a director to look out for, he's only made a few films so far but he's done a great job so far.