Hustle & Flow (2005)

(On DVD, February 2006) Don’t be surprised to see the MTV film logo at the beginning of the film, seeing how it’s all about the power of music in getting someone out of the ghetto. It’s a bit more complicated than that, of course, but not by much. The protagonist may be a middle-aged pimp seeking a last chance at past dreams (in an exceptional performance by Terrence Howard) and the ending may be a touch unconventional, but the underdog story remains intact. What’s different are the details, from the characters’ squalid lives to the way they put together their shot at glory. A long but enjoyable sequence depicts the making of a demo tape while later, talent has to be complemented by a bit of hustling in order to triumph. MTV movie indeed. The film itself isn’t particularly pleasant (it’s hard to be a pimp without some misanthropy) and some sequence run for too long, but the strength of Howard’s performance and some of the background details make it all worthwhile.

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