Hustle & Flow (2004) – 4/5

Good film. Strongly acted and well written, though it falls apart a bit near the end, but not really. It does hit all the ghetto black stereotypes pretty hard, though: drugs, prostitution, rap, guns, etc. But it tells a familiar story in an interesting way, crafting a realistic portrayal of one man’s struggle to make something of himself after tiring of a life of poverty and crime.

Terrence Howard is very good as the struggling pimp, though his voice becomes jarring after a while, particularly the way he uses “man” as though it were punctuation belonging at the end of every sentence. I also liked the blond girl in this, and Tarji P Henson who had this whole sexy/trashy look going on that totally worked. I don’t know what it is about her; she’s not much to look at, but she is so damn sexy for some reason.

Anyway, story wise, it’s what you’d expect, but it’s very well made. The cinematography is nice and the writing is sharp. Even the structure, how the story goes from point to point, is interesting. The only thing I didn’t quite buy is something that happens near the end. A bit unrealistic, and unnecessary to the story. There are other, more believable ways he could have ended up where he did.

Overall, gritty, but very well made and acted. Strongly recommended.

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