Aspiring emcee DJay works the angles to get his first record made with help from assorted people in his Memphis 'hood. And when he hears that hip-hop superstar Skinny Black is heading to his area, he throws together a supreme hustle to grab Skinny's attention. Written by
Al Kapone's involvement in the film came from a case of mistaken identity. Director Craig Brewer was expecting a phone call from DJ Paul (Paul Beauregard) because he wanted to hire Paul to write the songs that DJay would perform. Kapone, who knew Brewer from the Memphis music scene, decided to call him at that very same time. He told Brewer that the movie needed to have his music in it and Brewer immediately agreed. After a few minutes of small talk, Brewer realized he was talking to the wrong person. Too embarrassed to back out of the deal, Brewer told Kapone that he could audition with one song. Kapone had only 24 hours to write a song for DJay. He was sent the script by courier and was given Terrence Howard's phone number to discuss the character. The next day, Kapone performed "Hustle & Flow (It Ain't Over)" for Brewer and producer John Singleton. They loved the song so much, they used an additional three of Kapone's songs for the soundtrack. See more »
When Djay is recording "It's Hard out here for a Pimp," Nola's hands jump to her headphones between shots. See more »
Who's this niggah?
That's Shelby, he plays piano in my church. I thought he could help us develop your sound.
You know he's white, right?
Naw, he just light-skinned.
See more »
A very good film. I have noted criticism that the film slips into formula in its second half; true. But the situation is so bleak for these characters, I doubt that American audiences would have accepted a more believable ending; and, after all, there were far worse "happy" endings that it avoids.
The gritty staging, the solid no-frills camera-work and editing, and some really excellent performances make this well worth the effort to confront dishonest characters struggling to find some sort of integrity in their efforts to survive and succeed. These characters are not likable - none of them are, they each have a tic that denies them total sympathy from the audience. But they are all very human for that, and so ultimately win our respect if not approval.
Among the actors, two performances especially shine. Terrence Howard as DJay shows timing and expression worthy of much older, more "schooled" actors. Anthony Anderson is a real and pleasant surprise; stuck in character roles for the past decade, Anderson has become a real annoyance to me, as the usual character he plays is really excessive, a caricature. In this role, he is allowed to just act, and he delivers a wholly believable multifaceted performance.
Hollywood has been producing such bad films that saying this film is among the best released this year may not be saying much (there are real and undeniable weaknesses to the film). Nonetheless, on the whole, the film is a commendable and rewarding effort to present a drama involving human beings living close to real life, and not cartoons. I credit that effort, and recommend a viewing.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?