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Diana, a young mom working at a shoe store meets two strippers, Tricks and Ronnie. They tell her that she should work at The Playa's Club for big money. The woman accepts and soon introduces her cousin into the club. Then she finds out that her cousin is doing housecalls which Tricks bribed her to do. One day Diana returns to her house after almost being raped by an obsessed fan and finds her cousin sleeping with her ex-boyfriend. She kicks her cousin out and starts dating Blue, a DJ at the club. They go out one night and Diana's cousin calls asking her to pick her up from a bachelor party. Diana refuses and soon after her cousin is raped. Now she has only one option, to put Tricks in her place. Written by
"An Ice Cube film" Wow, that's already big enough. Not that Ice Cube is the biggest celebrity of the planet, but he is an actor I appreciate; too much. He is honest, simple; pure. He is a rapper, a musician who writes songs for films, and is good at it, besides being a low profile artist. Plus, he is a very good actor who does what he pleases and likes to and never disappoints. With the production company he has, he could have the highest ego, but he continues on doing his job.
In 1998, he got his chance to direct his movie; his first and only up to date. He wouldn't do the stupid gangster films the other rappers do because he takes the job seriously; so seriously he wrote his own neighborhood and people story, which is unexpectedly touching in its most impressive moments. He had done that type of film before, with independent man John Singleton, among others in that film I regret not seeing yet, "Boyz N' the Hood". Whether he got inspiration from there or not, I don't care, but the screenplay is his.
In his tale, where he also allows a role for him, we meet Diana (a powerful and gripping performance by Lisa Raye), a young girl and aspiring journalist with a lot of problems that drive her towards working on a strippers club, to get money and become Diamond. In Dollar Bill's (original Bernie Mac) club, "The players club", she is not the typical stripper, dancing with all the others; she has a special number, and some clients. Every day she deals with cousin Ebony (Monica Calhoun), who lives with her and has more than two times her problems; her unfaithful boyfriend and the different people in the club, including DJ Blue (a calm portrayal by Jamie Foxx), who likes her.
Like in any other story, these are not the only ones in Cube's vision There are lots of them and each of them has their own thing that relates to another thing. However, Cube always keeps the story focused in its center point. His gift as a director (because he could have sucked) comes with the importance he gives to the camera. He has a desperate need to show things as real as possible, even if it is a fiction story, so his camera moves like eyes most of the times, like afraid of watching what's waiting on the other side, so the impact is harder when we seed alongside the camera. It is a very effective technique.
What is also captivating and remarkable, is how much of him we can see in the film. Like directors of the league of Scorsese or Oliver Stone, Ice Cube tries to makes us see what he sees. There are a few scenes with enormous violence; glasses that break, shootings, people hurt We feel it, and it is hard to watch. I was thinking about Spike Lee, and how personal his movies are. I was shocked with the ending of "Do the right thing", but I understood it was just Spike Lee expressing himself.
I don't know what exactly the message Lee wanted to give was, I don't know what was going through his mind at the time, just as I didn't know what was Ice Cube thinking, so he could end up showing "The players club" in flames during the first frames of his movie.
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