Rize (2005)



Critic Consensus: The dances in Rize are electric even if the documentary doesn't go that deeply into the performers' lives.

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Taking advantage of unprecedented access, this documentary film brings to first light a revolutionary form of artistic expression borne from oppression. The aggressive and visually stunning dance modernizes moves indigenous to African tribal rituals and features mind-blowing, athletic movement sped up to impossible speeds. "Rize" tracks the fascinating evolution of the dance: we meet Tommy Johnson (Tommy the Clown), who first created the style as a response to the 1992 Rodney King riots and named it "Clowning," as well as the kids who developed the movement into what they now call Krumping. The kids use dance as an alternative to gangs and hustling: they form their own troupes and paint their faces like warriors, meeting to outperform rival gangs of dancers or just to hone their skills. For the dancers, Krumping becomes a way of life -- and, because it's authentic expression (in complete opposition to the bling-bling, Hip-Hop culture), the dance becomes a vital part of who they are.
PG-13 (for suggestive content, drug references, language and brief nudity)
Documentary , Musical & Performing Arts , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for Rize

All Critics (91) | Top Critics (32)

It's a well-known truth in the dance world that the body doesn't lie. As long as the characters in this film are dancing, we have little reason to doubt their sincerity. But once turned into talking heads, the dancers begin to sound like propagandists.

Full Review… | August 5, 2005
Toronto Star
Top Critic

A vivid portrait of art rising from deprivation and social hopelessness.

August 5, 2005
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

LaChapelle's powerful street-dance documentary Rize never lets us forget that its subjects are dancing in a war zone. But dance they do, in a kind of controlled frenzy, with music throbbing and limbs whirling and swaying and pulsing to the beat.

Full Review… | July 8, 2005
Seattle Times
Top Critic

[LaChapelle's] not the world's best documentarian, but he saw something that needed chronicling. So he turned his camera on the krumpers and let them do the rest. Smart choice.

July 1, 2005
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic

Clowning and krumping are urban art and art therapy in motion.

July 1, 2005
Denver Post
Top Critic

It's a feel-good film that actually makes you feel good.

Full Review… | July 1, 2005
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Rize

A dull little documentary about dance. Compared to the incomparable Pina, Rize is bush league.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Having lived in Los Angeles for the last decade, I was here when Krumping was a big thing amongst the inner city youth. I didn't live in the same neighborhoods, but I went to school in South Central for a couple of years. So I got to witness the dance first hand. When I first saw it, I laughed at it. To me it looked like nothing more than controlled flailing. Just swinging your arms around with balled fists, rolling your body like a stripper, jumping around, fake fighting and not much more. After seeing this documentary (which got snubbed for at least a nomination for Best Documentary), I realize that it is so much more than that. To the kids that are in that world, it is everything to them. It keeps them out of trouble, it gives them something to do besides play sports. I really have to commend Tommy the Clown for what he did. I've seen him at a party once, but I wasn't too familiar with his movement back then. What he has done is bring hope to kids that had almost none. Without his guidance, a lot of the kids in this film would be in gangs, in jail, doing nothing productive at all, or possibly dead. That alone makes this a film that everyone should see. I wanted to give it a higher score, but I still have trouble taking Krumping, as a form of dance, seriously. Still, this is an excellent film.

Ryan Rutherford
Ryan Rutherford

Super Reviewer


It was interesting to watch the krumping I guess, and it's great that it's keeping kids out of gangs, but I didn't find the film that compelling. At the end after the dance battle, it's kind of like they're rival gangs anyway...

Sarah Prisbylla
Sarah Prisbylla

Super Reviewer

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