Attempting to go straight, Gary gets a seasonal job at the crab market where he worked in his youth. When an addict gets shot, a local artist named Blue realizes the time to clean up his life is now ...
Gary, Fran and their teenage son DeAndre live in the slums of West Baltimore. They used to have a normal suburban family life, until Gary and Fran started taking drugs. Now Gary and Fran are estranged and their existence is day-to-day, hand-to-mouth, doing anything to satisfy their addiction. DeAndre has a chance, through getting his head down and staying in school, of escaping the abject poverty his parents live in, but he has his own problems. He is lured into become a drug dealer, making his living on the corner.Written by
THE CORNER is a powerful mini-series that delivers a ruthless, depressing, and depraved view of the lives of drug abusers and dealers. Told semi-narratively by a documentary crew, the viewer is delivered into the bowels of a hellish neighbourhood in America. Being based on a true story only serves to rattle the viewer further as you get to watch all the horrors of growing up on the streets from the comfort of your own home.
Truth be told, at times, I could barely watch the events of the program as the pain and suffering of each character seemed unbearable. Each has a struggle to deal with, from a father who has fallen into the depths of heroin addiction to his son who deals the same drugs on the unforgiving streets. Yet, they still try to maintain some sense of their former selves. Gary (the father) tries to get back on his feet numerous times, but failure seems to be the only result. DeAndre (the son) has had no worthy role models to teach him the value of honest living. The failure of his parents has reduced him to no more than another lost soul wandering the ghetto for his income.
Each event in the mini-series seems timeless and not easily forgotten, as I write this now, five months after I last saw THE CORNER, all I can think of is a shoot-out in the latter half of the story. We are shown kids with guns (somewhat echoing Columbine), however the shooters are scared. And you can see it, the fear in their faces and their random shooting. I was breathless watching this scene unfold as the youths who we have come to know have to defend themselves from rival dealers who have promised blood shed. All their talk and acting macho is instantly discarded as we watch them shoot up a once peaceful, beautiful neighbourhood in order to eliminate an unseen foe. There is nothing honourable about this scene and by the end I found myself lacking breath and on the edge of my seat. It is still one of the most incredible things that I have seen on television.
The fact that this story happened in Baltimore just enhances the story that much more. Usually, when people think of the drug problem in America they first think of the big cities. New York or Los Angeles, but here we are shown that the drug problem is in the backyards and backalleys of America, as well. IT SHOULD NOT BE IGNORED.
By the conlcusion of this story there seem to only be bodies left over as lifeless as they were wandering the slums for their next high. But there is no more highs after death, there is only a gap. The absence of a person has a great effect on the lives of those that surround them. But what's truly sad is that by the end the understanding is that only the dealers feel the loss...of customers. The death of their friends only serves to limit the junkie's chances of 'scoring' easier. Herein lies the saddest fact. Hope is fleeting on THE CORNER.
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