Hustle & Flow (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner26/10/2005

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 116 mins

Opens London Film Festival: 25th October
General release: 11th November

Enjoyable, engaging drama with well-written characters, great dialogue and a terrific, star-making performance by Terrence Howard.

The Background
Rising star Terrence Howard has been the best thing about his last two movies (Crash and Four Brothers), so it’s fitting that Hustle & Flow gives him a terrific leading role. It’s also immensely gratifying that Hollywood is beginning to take notice: after Hustle & Flow premiered at the Sundance Festival, Variety magazine compared his brooding thoughtfulness and emotional immediacy to Brando.

The Story
Howard stars as streetwise Memphis pimp and smalltime dealer DJay, who lives with three hookers: heavily pregnant Shug (Taraji P Henson), hotheaded Lex (Paula Jai Parker) and blankly innocent Nola (Taryn Manning).

Inspired by a gospel song, DJay reawakens his old dreams of becoming a recording artist. Knowing that local-boy-turned-rap-superstar Skinny Black (Chris Ludacris Bridges) is coming to town, he hooks up with old friend Key (Anthony Anderson) and attempts to get a demo tape together.

The Good
Howard is simply terrific as DJay – he really makes you root for his character, despite his pimping, drug-dealing ways. Anderson and Qualls are both actors who are usually cast in comic relief roles and they relish the opportunity to give straight performances here.

The Memphis setting adds a rich authenticity to the film and director Craig Brewer adds a layer of blaxploitation that even extends to the use of a 1970s-style chunky yellow font during the opening credits.

The Bad
Though the ending of the film feels rushed, there’s a huge amount to enjoy here and there are some great scenes to make up for it.

The Conclusion
In short, Hustle & Flow is a hugely enjoyable film that should appeal to anyone who loved 8 Mile. It has great characters, a script that crackles with great lines and a superb score – it’s also unexpectedly moving. Highly recommended.

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Hustle & Flow (15)
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Content updated: 20/09/2014 06:52

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