There is no denying it that this is a good and well made movie but at the same time I also still had loads of problems with it!

The way I see it, this is being a pretty good portrayal of live on the streets in the '90's. It picks a mostly realistic approach but still I just can't really 'feel' this movie. I never felt involved with any of the characters in it or to any of the dramatic events and developments. It doesn't make this movie bad but it does indeed make this movie a bit of a one dimensional experience.

And remember, this is an 1995 movie. So everything that was considered to be hip and 'thug life' might seem a bit ridicules and less cool in today's perspective. The whole attitude and way of talking and the way everyone dresses makes this movie really a product of its time. In that regard this movie also really reminded me of "Kids", which coincidentally or not, got made in the same year as this movie. It makes this movie less relevant to watch now days but really, it's nothing I was holding against the movie.

I would had most definitely preferred it if this movie was using a more straightforward style of storytelling. The movie as it is seems to be wanting to focus on far too many different characters and tries to do and tell too much. It also really has its own style to it, when it comes down to its storytelling, which was nice and helped to give this movie an unique feeling but at the same time it also made the movie unnecessary hard and not all that pleasant to follow at times.

Another thing I also disliked about this movie was its pick of music. The movie mad some bad music choices, in which the music often would swell and become melodramatic at moments that really were uncalled for. It absolutely distracted and most of the time didn't suit what was happening on the screen at the time.

But really, I though this movie still had some hints of a great movie in it as well. One thing was its already earlier mentioned unique and distinctive style. Spike Lee always has had an unique and distinctive style of his own and he manages to put a lot of that in this movie successfully. There are some interesting moments in this movie, from a more technical and movie-making perspective. There was some good camera-work for instance and also very little wrong with the movie its editing and pacing.

The movie its story in essence also really seemed to be a solid one but I do feel that they perhaps should had picked some different perspectives to keep- and make things a bit more interesting and effective. Wouldn't this movie for instance had been better and more interesting if it told things more from the Harvey Keitel's character perspective? Who knows and it's not like the movie bad or interesting as it is right now but while watching this movie it constantly gave me the feeling it had more potential and things could had been done better.

I don't know, perhaps the movie was also being a bit stuck between being a gangster movie and a more realistic one. It never felt like a true gangster flick and it never felt like a true realistic movie neither. Producer Martin Scorsese perhaps should had stepped in a bit more often, since he definitely is a kind of director who can more successfully blend realism with tough and tense gangster/crime movies.

Not trying to sound too negative. The movie is good enough as it is but it doesn't ever reaches its full potential.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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