Straight Out Of Brooklyn

This straight-from-the-gut message film from the Brooklyn ghetto (1991) by writer-director-producer-actor Matty Rich (who was only 19 at the time) is raw and unfinished in terms of craftbut it’s certainly heartfelt, and it lacks the usual exploitation frills. Seething with rage about the racism that has made him a professional failure (he works at a filling station), a man living in a Red Hook housing project (George T. Odom) regularly gets drunk, smashes dishes, and mercilessly beats his wife. His daughter is appalled that her mother accepts these beatings, and his son, bent on saving his family and escaping from Brooklyn, plans to rob a drug dealer with his two best friends (Mark Malone and Rich), over the objections of his girlfriend. Winner of a special jury prize at Sundance, this movie’s urgency very nearly makes up for what it lacks in polish; Rich may not have mastered certain skills, but he has so much to say about his subject that some irreducible street wisdom still gets across. R, 79 min. (JR)

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