This is a rare event. Ok, there's 52 weeks in any given year and 100’s of films are released monthly, so you will get a week where all the films released are so bad that for me to go and watch them could cause a major problem with my mind (i.e. take me out of my own!)
So with that in mind (did you see what I just did), let me advise you on what to rent rather than waste your money watching stuff this week.…
I've been a big fan of the music video specialist turned major film director Antoine Fuqua since seeing Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke in the amazing movie called "Training day". The film gave Denzel his first and long over due Oscar award. I remember that was the first year ever that the Oscars had given their top male and female awards to people of colour (remember Halle Berry's speech at the awards ceremony and more alarmingly how much naked flesh she had to show in the film Monsters Ball in order to win the award!!!)
If my Lady exposed herself to that level to get an award then I would have to congratulate her on her new life as a single Pole dancer and with her new found wealth she can buy some "clear heels to help her in her new career!"
Is it a coincidence that after Monsters Ball the main actors in the film who did simply too much on screen without first buying each other a drink, both separated from their (up-to that precise moment) stable partners (Angelina Jolie and Eric Benet) and Hallie's career has never recovered (but I’m sure Larry Flint would give her a role if she needed the $).
I also met Antoine's mentor on a flight (who also said he (the mentor) had dated Condoleezza Rice but that's another story) and he told me good things about Antoine. I'd even go as far as to say (clearing my throat) that he's my favourite Director. Period. Why do I say this? Well his first major film gave Denzel an Oscar without Denz having to show us, the world, his bottom (yes he played a negative role model but with such great ability wouldn't you agree?)
Anyway, from one Antoine film to another, Brooklyn's Finest.
How good is this film? Come closer, there's more.....
Ok the main characters are (in no particular order) Ethan Hawke as a broke Brooklyn Cop bringing up a family of nuff in a small house (I know that one) and a wife who has a bronchial problem and is also expecting another imminently.
Ethan is desperate, so desperate measures are called which involves him looking at different ways he can relieve criminals of a bit of their wealth so he can use the money for a deposit for a new house.
Then we have newly released from “Pen” Wesley Snipes doing his last film before he was sentenced to Pen (life imitating art again eh!).
He plays a gang leader in Brooklyn who has to do one more transaction before he can afford to get out of the game forever. He's also a resident of Brooklyn.
Mr "Versatile himself" Don Cheadle plays an undercover cop who's the Lieutenant to Wes but is going through domestic problems and can’t sort it out due to being deep undercover.
Then finally we have an officer but certainly no gentleman Richard Gere playing a cop who only has days to go before he can retire after doing 23yrs in the service.
Watching this film made me for the first time realise on a deeper level that the lines between The Police and the Crims can be so blurred (I know, it sounds like The British Leveson "Hacking enquiry").
Take all the characters I have mentioned above. All their actions have a logic based on their own basic needs.
All of the above are burnt out doing what they do and all are looking for a way out but how do you leave the gang where honour and respect is the number one requirement? (This statement applies to all the characters mentioned above and others that I haven't mentioned yet).
The film isn't just all about the boys though because I have to say that the women featured in this film don't come out of it looking good. For example, of the three main women featured, one has a male dominated career that has helped this particular person to develop into a demanding foul mouthed bovine, the second prominent female is portrayed as stressed out heavily pregnant over worked mother then the final "major" female role is a good looking mixed raced girl who's milkshake is loved by all the boys in the yard!
It could be argued that Antoine could have used Strong, positive role models but I think he wanted to make a film that showed us the underbelly of society that in this instance is called "Brooklyn" but could have easily have been made in any major city in the world.
This film shows you desperate positions that force the characters to make choices that, let's be honest, they would prefer not to (but again, we are imagining Utopia when in reality we live on Earth with flawed but some trying to strive Humans)
Some people I know who aren't from "downtown" but rather live "upstate" said that they found the language by most of the Black Characters "too urban" (me nuh no wha dem ah tark bout!)
The final 15mins of the film is full of twists and turns and will leave you on the edge of your seat but equally do listen carefully to the story told by a crim talking to Ethan in the first 5mins of the film talking about "wronger and righter" (which makes a lot of sense when you watch the scene).
There's plenty of "Life imitating Art" in this film (or is it Art imitating Life? you decide)
One critic said Brooklyn's Finest was "trying to merge Crash with Training Day but failed". I strongly disagree with what the critic states and put down his criticism by turning it into a compliment because by virtue that, he the critic, mentioned the obvious homage means "Crash/Training Day" can be seen in this film, if this is not the case then why then mention these two titles if it in fact bares no similarity. He (the critic) could have easily compared this work with some random film such as, oh I don't know, "Gone With The Wind" and "The Hobbit" (I know, my dad is right, I’m wasted (in a "I should have been a lawyer" and not in a partaker of illegal narcotics sort of way).
This is a fine film that I felt should have been a massive commercial hit but apparently it wasn't.
It wasn't awarded or nominated for an Oscar but to me it was The Best Film that was released in 2010. Period....
P.s. if you run you maybe able to catch "blockbusters" before it closes or if that's not hi-tech enough, then checkout "Netflix" people....
Article by @gmanzen / 5th March 2012