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Thug Life in D.C. (1998)

6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 59 users  
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Title: Thug Life in D.C. (1998)

Thug Life in D.C. (1998) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Aundrey Burno ...
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Kevin Burno ...
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independent film

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Documentary

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15 October 1998 (USA)  »

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Shouting, but not saying anything
6 November 2001 | by (St. Louis, Missouri, USA) – See all my reviews

Once again, Levin and Pinkerson set their sights on the injustices of "the system" (particularly the U.S. prison juggernaut), and once again, they remain oblivious to anything of value that might be gleaned from such an examination, behaving like nothing so much as a couple of street preachers railing against the abuses of "The Man," but ultimately rejecting the possibility of social progress (and their responsibility as critics) through their failure to communicate or even explore what steps can be taken to end them.

Now, don't get me wrong -- I have no problem with filmmakers taking an "objective," non-critical stance towards important social issues. But Levin and Parkinson have taken that stance towards the same issues for so long now that they should at least have some vague inklings on how to fix them. Alas, with "Thug Life in D.C.," it has become obvious that, despite all their filmmaking experience, they have yet to learn anything about the conditions they document, beyond the kind of simplistic analysis you would expect to find among members of a high-school debate team (i.e., maybe we wouldn't have so many criminals if there were more economic equality in our society -- gosh, thanks a lot).

The time has long since passed for Levin and Parkinson to stop warming up and step up to the plate, to end the tired, indignant head-shaking that one can detect in almost every frame of their films to date. Based on "Thug Life in D.C.," though, they're content to remain bench-warmers, unwilling to look any deeper beneath the surface -- especially ironic, when one considers that wasted potential is one of the ostensible themes of this particular film.


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