Blallywood Film Review: Hustle & Flow
Hustle & Flow is a gritty story about an unlikely dreamer named DJay. He makes his meager income from pimping women and through a mid-life crisis decides to veer left and start a rap career. He commandeers the help of a man named Key (Anthony Anderson) and they start working to record a demo. He uses his ingenuity and street smarts to maneuver an impromptu meeting at a party with Skinny Black (Ludacris), a popular rapper of the time, hoping to be given an opportunity to collaborate. When he finds his only demo in the dank toilet of the bathroom at the party and Skinny Black completely inebriated on the floor, he is thrown into a riveting rage that seals his impenetrable fate in prison.
Terrance Howard is largely without flaw as DJay. Other standouts are Taraji P. Henson as his live-in girlfriend Shug, especially when given the opportunity to sing the first hook on the demo. In this living situation full of volatile behavior and loose women she, for the first time, feels a sense of purpose and importance. Her journey is really interesting to watch.
This Oscar-winning drama is a stunning exploration of the value of having a dream. Everyone can relate to the general theme of desiring more for our lives. The fear of not being deemed valuable, worthy, necessary by those you love or those you look up to is beautifully explored in this film.
There were many times when the dialogue and song lyrics seemed almost ridiculous, as if the film was making a caricature of urban life in some spots. Songs like “Whoop that Trick” and “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” seem a little unbelievable and sarcastic in my opinion. Though these songs were developed and performed with authenticity and true spirit in the story of the film. The accents were a bit inconsistent and sometimes got in the way of understanding the dialogue. Howard’s accent was especially thick and muddled in spots.
I had no desire to see this film when it was released in 2005, but I’m glad I took a moment to watch it this week. It’s pretty good. B.