Slam (1998)



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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.
Rating: R (for pervasive language, a sex scene and brief violence)
Genre: Drama
Directed By: Marc Levin
Written By: Marc Levin , Richard Stratton , Saul Williams , Sonja Sohn
In Theaters: wide


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 (21) | 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… | November 30, 2006
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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Full Review… | September 18, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | November 6, 2002
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

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

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May 11, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Slam


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

Pete Skeris
Pete Skeris

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 De-Smith
Bob De-Smith

Have you ever tried to freestyle your thoughts, feelings, and emotions? The authors of the film "Slam", Marc Levin and Richard Stratton have a few things in mind. The main character of the story is Ray Joshua. It is a about a young black man, trying to survive in the ghetto. Right away into the story, the main character (Ray Joshua) gets caught and sent to jail. Ray Joshua believes that he is getting played for his own actions. The movie to me is a very inspiring story because it shows that he is trying to be above the influence. Also, the movie is basically telling people that they should take responsibility for there own actions. The film to me, is trying to critique the society by basically saying that all the things people do, will affect the next generation of people. The focus that tries to define Ray is the black man society. The society of every black man does drugs and will always end up in jail. The force of not doing much with his or her life and understanding that they don't have much to loose. He defines himself because he doesn't do either. He takes his thoughts and opinions and leaves them on paper. He basically does the spoken word. His spoken words where about the culture, violence, and things that he is personally passionate about. The faces that try to define Ray Joshua are the thought of him being a black poor man. The connection that I can make is that there are many forces that are trying to define Ray Joshua's' life. Like wise, my self. Like the forces of not being able to go to college because I cannot afford it. My favorite part about the film was that the jail scene. The raps that both gentlemen's do was a really get one. I don't think I can personally relate to this movie because I don't do poetry and I can't rap. I don't think I can put a message on this film. The movie was really good. I would recommend this it was very good and it was inspiring to me. It shows how people can do things for their own actions. Also, they should take responsibly.

Angeliz Ramirez
Angeliz Ramirez

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