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5 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Rough around the edges, but Good Concept & Great Musical Performance

Author: bizlift from Salt Lake City
23 January 2008

The film was definitely indie and despite some rough acting and awkward scenes, the film continued to pull me along. Stanton's artistic vision and the occasional dark and beautiful moments kept me engaged during the bumpy ride.

I really enjoyed the photography as well as the dusty locations and sets. Jerome Hawkins' charisma helped make his character likable and propelled the movie along.

The highlight of the film was the musical performance. Let's just say that Kid Rock ain't got nothing on Hawkins when it comes to country-fried hip-hop.

The film had many layers...perhaps a bit too many layers. The concept of an urban hip-hop youth in a small redneck town was wonderful, and the philosophical explorations were interesting. But in my opinion the drums and the vision scenes "cheapened" the story. It would have been more powerful to go deeper with what was already there rather than broader but shallower with the super-natural elements that seemed disconnected from the main story. (If you're going super-natural, then go all the way like "The Sixth Sense").

I watched the world premier at Sundance (sitting right behind celebrity judges including my hero Quentin Tarantino).

In the Q&A after the film, we learned that the film was created with almost no budget and some of the cast also doubled as crew taking on multiple roles. Stanton's background is in theater which explained some of the scenes that seemed more appropriate for stage than screen.

If watching this at home on DVD, I would give it a lower rating. But after hearing the Q&A, and since it was viewed at a festival for independent film I feel that the context in which I experienced this film should influence the rating.

I'm looking forward to see what Stanton, Hawkins & posse can do with some real resources now that they have some film experience under their belt.

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