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
Back to Life
(a cappella version)
Performed by Soul II Soul
Written by Jazzie B (as Trevor Berrisford Romeo)
Published by SONY/ATV Music
Courtesy of Virgin Records America, Inc. See more »
gut-check for the gutless!
I've seen questions as to why 'ox' has so much dialogue; why not? If one looks at this films as some sort of nouveau-blaxploitation, as an affirmation of `blackness' and a new assertion of black art, then it is sensible to have a `black' drug lord who is Jamaican. Think `Scarface' for black folk. This guy is living the American dream, he comes from the Caribbean and ascends to power, and he did it by doing what the other characters are trying to do, just like Al Pacino's did.
`The character Nas portrays is supposed to have a sort of pseudo-street urbane sensibility. his character is a mere rehash of about a thousand other characters in gangster movies that wish for a better life.' Exactly, only this time the lamentation is by a gangster w/ black skin. He wants to do the right thing, or at least wants it all to turn out as best it can. In that way he's human. Hm, a film that portrays a black gangster as human, that IS a stretch, and maybe ultimately what leads critics to be so hard on this movie.
There are also charges that this movie is poorly acted. I'm not sure that it's any worse than say, `Reservoir Dogs', a movie I love, but really wouldn't be considered as good as it is if it weren't Tarantino's. I think in that way `Belly' is similar to `RD': they were both made with tremendous vision, and the directors/writers didn't seem like they could trust their `vision' (good or bad) to other people to make. There are other actors that could've played the characters in `Belly', but there are lots of factors involved in casting, and I'm sure that having these hip-hop starts was as much marketing as it was about the `art'. Besides, most of us on here cannot say what a `real' gangster acts like. It's my guess that besides what they do for a living, inside they're humans like we are.
The comment that I always use when discussing this movie is that if it had been written/directed by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, starred Leonardo DiCaprio (if not Damon and Affleck),and had been set in SoCal or New England, it would've won awards, but it was made by Hip-Hop artists with their OWN vision, so it languishes to lame critics that don't realize that the pain in their `Belly' is not from watching this film, but is a result of their lack of desire to change prescriptions for their near-sightedness.
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