New York Magazine


Hustle & Flow
  Release Date: 07/22/05 (Future Release)

Starring: Terrence Dashon Howard, DJ Qualls, Taryn Manning, Ludacris, Isaac Hayes

Director: Craig Brewer

Rating: (R)
  Running Time
  114 min
  MTV Films
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A well-acted but pretty unbelievable look at how a pimp (the magnetic Terrence Howard) turns himself into a professional rapper. This Sundance audience-pleaser tells viewers that pimping can be done with a kind of fairness—why, you may even graduate to doing some backup vocals! Director Craig Brewer captures the flavor of grungy Deep South neighborhoods, and Anthony Anderson is terrific as Howard’s exasperated recording engineer, but the movie is an amiable crock.

DJay, a streetwise Memphis hustler tries to find a voice and realize his long-buried dreams. Though DJay has always had a way with words, that gift has long been misused; this philosopher-hustler lives a dead-end life at the fringes of society. Anything more feels out of reach. Still, DJay wonders what happened to all the big dreams he had for his life. A chance encounter with an old friend, Key, a sound engineer who has always wanted to make it in the music business, spurs DJay: if he's ever going to make his mark, it has to happen now. He begins to write down his freestyle raps -- his flow -- and the two team up with Shelby, a church musician with a beat machine, to lay down bass-thumping crunk tracks. DJay's metamorphosis affects his entire house, as the women in his life -- Shug and Nola -- find ways to contribute to the creative process. With the impending visit to Memphis of hometown platinum-selling rapper Skinny Black, DJay has to make one last hustle if he's ever going to flow.