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Straight Out Of Brooklyn Review

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Dennis dreams of escaping to his his world of drugs, danger and constant danger, and plans to go to college. But his patience runs out and he plans to rob the local dealerTrapped in a world of desperation, drugs and constant danger. An ill-advised choice.

★★★★

Extraordinary achievement by then teenage writer/director/producer Matty Rich.

Rich, who started his film at the age of 17, has poured his heart into a highly personal tragedy of dreams, despair and rage in an inner city housing project, inspired by the lives of people he has loved. The setting is Brooklyn's Red Hook projects, but it could be all too many cities.

Rich's "gang of four" youths, led by Gilliard Jr.'s Dennis, are individual and appealing (including Rich as Larry "Lover") - still boyish enough to practise their dance moves, but old enough to get a car and a gun when Dennis foolishly decides to rob a local drug pusher. Dennis wants to go to college and live in Manhattan ("The American Dream" he believes), but his wild plan to get across the bridge brings a wave of catastrophe that engulfs his friends and family.

This is the real world, in which desperate men take out their humiliations on their families, where every mother goes crazy when she hears a bang for fear her boy is on the sharp end of the gun, where children are ridiculed for having dreams as modest as that of actually finishing school. And while this may be perceived as lacking in slickness, it makes up for it with its powerful emotional impact, with Rich's voice expressing truth and an awareness of how things are and how they have to change. Are we listening?

While this may be perceived as lacking in slickness, it makes up for it with its powerful emotional impact, with Rich's voice expressing truth and an awareness of how things are and how they have to change.