Critique: ‘Straight Out of Brooklyn’ (1991)

DOWC American Ind 1.jpg
Directory of World Cinema: American Independent 1, edited by John Berra, published by Intellect Books, 2010

Straight Out of Brooklyn was made on a budget of less than $500,000 and achieved a domestic gross of $2.7 million. It was written, produced, directed, and featured Matty Rich, who was only 19 years old when the film was released in 1991. Furthermore, to enhance the ‘independent’ credentials of the film, Straight out of Brooklyn received industry recognition when it won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and the Best First Feature award at the Independent Spirit Awards.

The film can be seen as a potentially more authentic experience when compared to the far more lucrative ‘hood movies’ released around the same time – Boyz n the Hood (1991) and Menace II Society (1993) – because of Rich’s controlling extent in shaping the film. However, it would be simplistic to assume that the weltanschauung within the film matches that of the young director who plays one of the three friends. Although the gang narrative is fairly generic, the feeling of suffocation and despair turning to rage forcibly emanates from the film because of the characters within the story…

 

The full 600 word version of this review is published in Directory of World Cinema: American Independent 1, edited by John Berra, published by Intellect Books, 2010. 

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