Sunday, July 31, 2005

It's A Plot

It's said there are only seven basic plots. Perhaps, but if so, then it's the variations that count. I just saw Hustle & Flow, the story of a pimp who wants to make it as a rapper. If all that matters is basic plot, once you get beyond the sex, violence and language, it's basically just another Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland musical about amateurs trying to make it big.

The film was a favorite at Sundance, though I think now that it's out in the regular world, it'll find the going a bit tougher. I don't see it crossing over to a wide audience. (It's a bit unfair to write this now, since the film's been out for a week--you'll just have to take my word I thought this before it was released, and watching it confirmed my suspicion.)

The film features a powerful lead performance by Terrence Howard as Djay the pimp, all the more impressive after you've seen him play the opposite type as the integrated TV director earlier this year in Crash. For that matter, Ludacris, also in Crash, does a fine turn as the malevolent Skinny Black in Hustle & Flow.

(Actually, I'm often surprised at how well rappers acquit themselves on screen. Perhaps the best these days is Mos Def. I'm rarely so impressed by rock stars.)

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