From director RZA comes the explosive CUT THROAT CITY, the story of four boyhood friends in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward who return after Hurricane Katrina to find their homes decimated, with no jobs, and no help from FEMA. Out of options, they reluctantly turn to a local gangster, who offers them one shot at turning their situations around - by pulling off a dangerous heist in the heart of the city. When the job goes bad, the friends find themselves on the run, hunted by two relentless detectives and a neighborhood warlord who thinks they stole the heist money.Written by
Well Go USA Entertainment
Written by Samantha McDonald and Method Man (as Clifford Smith)
Produced by Cameron Bartolini (as Cameron Mitchell Bartolini) and Louis Vincent Bartolini
Performed by Blimes and Method Man
Courtesy of Peach House See more »
Headache-inducing camera work and poor script doom this film
"Cut Throat City" (2020 release; 128 min.) brings the story of James and 3 of his friends. As the movie opens, they are reading a graphic novel that James has written and illustrated. It is James' wedding day, while we are told that Hurricane Katrina is rapidly approaching New Orleans. After Katrina ravages the city, James has a job interview that alas yields no job. Desperate for money, James and his friends turn to a local ringleader. He offers them an opportunity to mob a local casino, and they accept... At this point we are 10 min. into the film, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this film is the latest directed by the de facto Wu Tang Clan leader RZA (actually, the film credits reads "The RZA"). Here he takes on what in the abstract could make for a great movie: 4 guys attempt a casino heist, things don't quite work out as planned, and how they deal with the fall-out. Alas, this film is doomed by several factors: first and foremost, the film is nearly unwatchable resulting from the never-ending stream of extreme close-ups and head-ache inducing hand-held camera work. Check out the footage from within the van as the guys drive to/from the heist. It's one massive blur. Equally responsible for the film's downfall is the weak script. There is hardly any character development, and as a result, at no time did I have any emotional investment in any of the characters. That is a fatal flaw, sorry. The cast does the best it can with the material it is dealt with. Keep an eye out for Ehtan Hawke, appearing in a handful of scenes as the city council man who pressures the NOPD to apprehend the guys, the sooner the better.
"Cut Throat City" was scheduled to premiere at this year's SXSW festival. Then a little thing called COVID-19 stopped the world in its tracks and the festival was canceled (rightfully so, of course). The movie finally opened this weekend in theaters, as they try to brings back people while fully adhering to all COVID-19 compliance rules. The Saturday early evening screening where I saw this at the Cinemark here in Cincinnati was attended dismally: 3 people (including myself) in a huge theater. It will take stronger films than "Cut Throat City" to convince the public at large that it is safe to come back to the theater. Of course I'd readily suggest you check out "Cut Throat City", be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
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