Hustle & Flow, Blu-ray (2005)

by | Jun 26, 2007 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Hustle & Flow, Blu-ray (2005)

Starring: Terrence Howard, Taryn Manning, Anthony Anderson
Director: Craig Brewer
Studio: Paramount 12467
Video: 2.35:1 enhanced for 16:9 color, 1080p HD
Audio: English/French/Spanish DD 5.1, DD. 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH/English, French, Spanish
Extras: Commentary track by writer/director Craig Brewer, “Behind the Hustle,” “By Any Means Necessary,” “Creatin’ Crunk,” Memphis home premiere, 6 promotional spots, Paula Jai Parker interview, Ludacris and Terrence Howard rehearsal, Extended scenes, “It’s Hard Out There For a Pimp” – acoustic version, Theatrical trailers in HD
Length: 114 minutes
Rating: ****

This was the first major film for Craig Brewer, and it won at Sundance and then an Academy Award in 2006. Brewer and producer John Singleton struggled for four years to get the film financed. Studios looked askance at a movie about a low-level pimp in the ghettos of Memphis, to be directed by a 33-year-old white man. They asked “Couldn’t he be a mailman or plumber instead?”  Djay, a goodhearted pimp, wants to change his life and become a popular rapper.  Running into a high-school buddy who has a job recording gospel music jogs him. He gets a keyboard and good mic (and not as legal transactions either), cuts a demo and tries to get it into the hands of someone who can help promote him and get his music heard. An opportunity comes up to lay his demo on a visiting hip-hop star, but it doesn’t turn out well. But in the end his struggle begins to pay off.  This Blu-ray title shows that even with fairly low-budget recent films, image quality can look impressive with the combination of today’s advanced movie-making gear and skillful transfers to hi-def DVDs. With many scenes taking place at night, shadow detail was excellent.

Hustle & Flow is definitely an adults only movie, with flags for sex, violence and plenty of colorful language (although not being able to understand much of it might blunt its shock value). Here’s a film where English subtitles come in very handy.   It’s plenty gritty and the subject matter of hip-hop music may not be to everyone’s taste. (Personally I hate it but I liked the movie. In fact you may be singing the hit tune from the movie against your will for days after seeing it.) Terrance Howard’s character has a lot of depth and is fascinating to watch, as are all the others in the film. Isaac Hayes has a small role as the owner of club frequented by the rappers. The main theme would be that everybody – no matter how dire their situation – deserves to have a dream.

 – John Sunier

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