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Anthony Chau-Sang Wong,
Once in the life (of drug dealing and organized crime), can anyone get out? During a brief jail stay, two half-brothers, who have rarely seen each other while growing up, connect. One of them, called 20/20 Mike because he can sense people nearby, concocts a scheme in which the two of them will steal some dope from young couriers. The heist goes awry when Billy, the junkie brother, shoots the victims of the theft. The brothers hole up in an abandoned building, and 20/20 Mike seeks help from an old cell mate, Tony, whom he thinks is out of the life. It turns out that they have stolen Tony's dope, and Tony's boss wants the two thieves dead. Is there any way out?Written by
An intense drama packed in a stylish gangster movie
"Once in the life" is a very good movie. However it's not good for everybody, due to the extensive use of vulgar language and the violence of some of the situations. The movie manages to represent in an anecdotic, believable way the "life" in NYC neighborhoods where drug problems are important. This depiction is in turn used as the decor for a most thoughtful and suspenseful drama backed up by powerful dialogs (however I had a hard time understanding some of them because english is not my mother tongue. On video it's OK). There is a little overplay sometimes, but I think it fits quite well to the general orientation Fishburne gave to the movie, which gives matter for reflexion more than just being a good style exercise, notably in the time/action management. The characters, even though not simple, are easy to relate to and actors do a fine job at impersonating them. By the way I much enjoyed the soundtrack (B. Marsalis). If you're not too prude, you should enjoy seeing that movie once, twice, three times. I rated the movie 9/10.
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