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Five Star (2014)

 |  Drama  |  17 April 2014 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.2/10 from 385 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 5 user | 23 critic | 9 from Metacritic.com

A member of the notorious Bloods since he was 12 years old - both in the film and in real life - Primo takes John, the son of his slain mentor, under his wing, versing him in the code of ... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
John Diaz ...
John's Mom
Jasmine Burgos ...
Richard Bird ...
Gun Dealer
Larry Bogad ...
Bar Owner
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Titi Dee Dee
John Reese ...
Bodega Dealer #2
Tamara Robinson ...
C.T. Taylor ...


A member of the notorious Bloods since he was 12 years old - both in the film and in real life - Primo takes John, the son of his slain mentor, under his wing, versing him in the code of the streets. Set in East New York, FIVE STAR blends documentary and fictional storytelling as director Keith Miller carefully avoids worn clichés of gang culture to offer a compelling portrait of two men forced to confront the question of what it really means to be a man.

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User Reviews

Five Star is a meditative gang film about the struggles of being a man
6 April 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's beautifully shot and even more beautifully acted. Real life gang member Primo Grant gives a riveting performance as a version of himself. It's full of raw emotionality that's a rare sight on film. John Diaz plays a young student of Primo's whose father passed away under mysterious circumstances. Both men bring a nuance to their characters that ground them in the reality of the filmmaking and create portraits of real people struggling with one of our most common and modern dilemmas.

The film starts with maybe the most intense and emotional scene. Primo recalls the birth of his handicapped son and his being in jail at the time. His son has autism, but to Primo he's perfect. This immediately sets the stage and the tone for the rest of the film. Dark, sometimes humorous but always with a sub-textual menace, the film traverses the gang lifestyle in a completely new, and real way. This isn't scarface, it's much closer to The Wire. These are real people who have found themselves in these situations because of varying factors. It does not glamorize gang life nor does it hold moral judgment over it. What it does do is offer a contemplative reaction to the way our world works, and the worlds we don't really understand.

The filmmaker's voice is never lost in this blending of fiction and reality. Keith Miller's first film "Welcome to Pine Hill" has a similar approach to a very different subject. Miller's ability to bring out the reality of a person and their situation and arc it into a narrative that feels like a movie that the audience has been sucked into is astounding. While some might characterize both his films as "raw" they are not in the sense of a docu-drama, but in the sense that the cameras are free flowing and the characters represent fully developed and often troubled people. Make no mistake these "real life" stories are fiction and there is the clear hand of an auteur at work behind them.

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