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Hustle and Flow 

Craig Brewer

Hustle and Flow
Directed by: Craig Brewer
(MTV FIlms)
Terrence Howard had what they call in professional sports a “career year.” After a long stretch in the character-actor trenches, he shone in Crash, Four Brothers and Get Rich or Die Tryin’, but no more so than as DJay, the Memphis pimp who wants to change his life through music in Hustle and Flow. His opening monologue, delivered with conviction in the front seat of his muscle car, followed by the yellow, fat title font and Buddy Guy’s “Baby, Please Don’t Leave Me” sets the mood for this gritty, affecting update of 1970s Blaxploitation. Howard portrays DJay as a mass of contradictions, vulnerable yet violent, but most of all driven. The grim opening reel lightens as the pimp becomes a rapper in his home studio and tries to get his demo into the hands of a local who made it big (Ludacris). Though 50 Cent’s movie was a fictionalized version of actual events, and this just fiction, Hustle and Flow cooks with a sense of desperation, drama and jeopardy absent from the big-budget vehicle that makes this Sundance favourite the one to see. And just try to get the oh-so tasteful tunes out of your head: “You know it’s hard out here for a pimp/when you’re tryin’ to get this money for the rent.”
—Carsten Knox

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