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Belly (1998)

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A pair of violent Men have spiritual awakenings.

Director:

Hype Williams

Writers:

Anthony Bodden (story), Nas (story) | 2 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
DMX ... Tommy 'Buns' Bundy
Nas ... Sincere
Hassan Johnson ... Mark
Taral Hicks ... Kisha
Tionne 'T-Boz' Watkins ... Tionne
Oliver 'Power' Grant ... Knowledge (as Power)
Louie Rankin Louie Rankin ... Lennox
Stan Drayton Stan Drayton ... Wise (as Stanley Drayton)
James Parris James Parris ... LaKid
Method Man ... Shameek
Kurt Loder ... Kurt Loder
Ben Chavis Ben Chavis ... Rev. Saviour (as Minister Benjamin F. Muhammed)
Tyrin Turner ... Big
Jay Black Jay Black ... Black
John 'B.J.' Bryant John 'B.J.' Bryant ... Thug #1
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Storyline

Tommy Brown and his friend Sincere are gangsters who have learned how to make a good living by dealing drugs and pulling armed robberies. Tommy and Sincere have been able to move out of the ghetto in Queens where they were raised and relocate to an upscale section of Manhattan; they would seem to have it made, but both realize that their lives are headed toward a dead end. Sincere begins getting in touch with his African roots and tries to convince his girlfriend Tionne that they should emigrate to the Motherland, while Tommy has a religious awakening and joins the Nation of Islam. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Money, power, respect... but who's got your back?

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, language, sexuality and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Jamaica | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 November 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Black Blood See more »

Filming Locations:

Irvington, New Jersey, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,454,776, 8 November 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$9,630,169, 24 January 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Big Dog Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film they watch at DMX's house is Gummo (1997). See more »

Quotes

Tommy 'Buns' Bundy: What?
Knowledge: What the fuck you mean, what?
See more »

Connections

References The Godfather (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

No Way In, No Way Out
Performed by Lady
Written by R. Kelly
Published by Zomba Songs Inc./R. Kelly Publishing, Inc.
(Administered by Zomba Songs Inc.)
Courtesy of Rockland/Interscope Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant
6 February 2006 | by wilsonasillsonSee all my reviews

Please disregard the above review. Either the viewer likes being spoon-fed his films, or was not paying attention. Note that the viewer didn't even attempt an understanding of the title "Belly," which was the central theme of the film. The viewers others comments can stand for themselves.

In all honesty, the first time I watched this film, I actually turned the volume down -- I was enraptured by the way each scene was composed on the frame. Visually, this movie is stunning. The director has a striking style, and besides that, he is PRODIGIOUS -- there appears to be no end to the ways that he can make his compositions rich in visual entertainment and information. I can enumerate a list of techniques he used here, but that will be an exercise in boredom for today's cyber-nauts. Even more important, the compositions are never created for their own sakes, which was my initial criticism the first time I saw it -- they really do propel the film. The style is integral to the story. Get the film and you will see what I'm referring to; if you disagree, say so in your review.

80% of the film seems to be a riff on the hip-hop video aesthetic (never mind the fact that the director greatly defined the recent shape of this aesthetic) and myth. In it's third act, however, it uses the very same conventions -- outlaw figures, ostentatious style, and violence -- to confront and question these aesthetics. In the climactic ending, this criticism is embodied in the confrontation between one of the heroes of the film (DMX) and a figure symbolic of actual figures from black history. The director actually used an anachronism to face down a contemporary hero, and argues for the relic.

What the film argues for, as embodied by the final speech of the Minister character, is a message so powerful and relevant -- particularly to the very people who will associate themselves the most with this film -- that it will leave you breathless. It is a timeless message passed down from antiquity, framed by the most daring and contemporary of directors. It is an exhilarating juxtaposition.

What of the title, "Belly?" A belly is what a pregnant woman has; it is the external shape of soon-to-be-born child. It is the womb, the source of life. It is the promise of what is to be, as well as the origins of what is. If you abstract it, it's shape will be that of a circle - the symbol of wholeness, of the journey to individuation. It is the same difficult journey that the movies' anti-heroes take.

BELLY is a powerfully visual, yet simple tale about redemption. Not to be missed.


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