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Ernest R. Dickerson
Courtney B. Vance,
Charles S. Dutton,
A film noir centering around a hard-boiled, stylish kingpin drug dealer, called King David, who returns to his hometown seeking redemption--but ends up only finding violent death. King David's final moments are spent with Paul, an aspiring journalist who knew him for just a few minutes; yet King David would forever more have an impact on Paul's life. Half preacher, half Satan, and all street smarts, King David had recorded the story of his exploits on audiotape, leaving behind an often-poetic sermon on villainy and its consequences. The tapes reveal that the cycle of violence and retribution, which his actions have spawned, has come back to him, full circle, as he suspected they might all along. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Since truth is indeed sometimes stranger than fiction, often the movie with the most unlikely scenario is the one that turns out to be the most believable. This is the case with "Never Die Alone," an urban crime drama with a plot just loopy enough to keep us interested and just goofy enough to make us believe it.
David Arquette plays a white reporter who hangs around in a predominantly black section of the city soaking up the "atmosphere" for articles and books he hopes to write. One night, he attempts to save the life of a black drug kingpin (played by DMX) by driving the man to the hospital after he's been left for dead in a revenge killing. Immediately before his death, the man, who goes by the name "King David," bequeaths his car and other earthly possessions to this inner city Good Samaritan. Included in the haul is an assortment of tapes David recorded detailing his experiences as a successful drug pusher in LA. Thus, as Paul listens to these recordings, a full picture of the kind of man David was soon emerges.
The best thing about "Never Die Alone" is that it doesn't flinch from displaying the ugly, harsh realities of its blood-splattered world. It shows how even the innocent and the good eventually fall victim to the evils of drug addiction and crime. The film is not afraid to kill off characters in a random way, often surprising us with just who ends up dying and who ends up surviving. And it does not attempt to sugarcoat "King David," for despite all his comments about redemption and making up for the evil he's done, David is one hell of an amoral bastard who does some pretty horrible things to some truly undeserving people - and the film does not shy away from depicting that reality.
Although, on the surface, the film seems like just another in a long line of sordid crime dramas involving crack heads, dope fiends and armed-to-the-teeth ghetto gangstas, "Never Die Alone," perhaps because it is willing to hold nothing back in what it chooses to show us, has a certain ring of truth about it. Whatever the reason, "Never Die Alone" is a cut above the average.
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