Reviewed by: Joseph Martinez
|Featuring||Terrence Dashon Howard, DJ Qualls, Ludacris, Anthony Anderson, Taryn Manning|
|Producer||Craig Brewer, John Singleton, Stephanie Allain|
What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer
Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem?
Everybody gotta have a dream.
“You know it’s hard out here for a pimp, trying to get the money for the rent,” and so begins the chorus, or “hook” to the theme song for “Hustle and Flow”. This film stars Terrance Howard in the main role of DJay. DJay is a pimp/drug dealer who dreams of a greater life. Within the first 12 seconds of the film, the harsh language starts and does not let up. What else could one expect from a movie about a pimp trying to get into the rap music business? Howard’s acting is mesmerizing; you love him, loathe him and somehow relate to him all at the same time. He is the epitome of someone “stuck” in their life with no way out but to dream. This film is set in the ghetto of Memphis, in the lives of pimps and prostitutes, a world that most of us are fortunately not a part of.
What is interesting, yet a given, is that all the characters find shame and/or emptiness in their current status. They are searching for fulfillment, somehow thinking that they can find it in fame and fortune. Nola, one of DJay’s latest recruits seems to have a desire for any purpose at one point crying out, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”
Aside from the Lord’s name being taken in vain several times, there were other elements that would disturb any person of faith. DJay crosses paths with one of his old high school friends, Clyde—known as “Key” played by Anthony Anderson, in his finest performance. Clyde attends a local church and is faithful to his wife. He seems to be the only character that has some kind of stability. Clyde takes DJay and Nola to his church, as a woman is singing “Jesus give me a new name.” DJay cries as he listens to the song. The theme of the song touches the aspects of salvation: getting a new name, a clean slate, and a chance to start over. Where the disturbing factor lies is that his “church friends,” help him with the foul music, and smoke pot with him after their first recording session. They have no problem with the content of his music; rather their desire is to help him get a song on the radio. There is no attempt to help him find his greater purpose in life. Like the world, their focus is on the temporal—not the eternal. The fact that they are lukewarm church people is perhaps more disturbing to me than the lifestyle of pimps and prostitutes.
As the rest of the film unfolds, we see more of a comic spin and a glorification of a sinful lifestyle, yet somehow, you know if given the same circumstances, ignorance and lack of a godly restraint would lead us all to the same conclusions. Because of the language, content and visual elements, I urge fellow believers NOT to see this film (I do not know how many times I asked myself, why am I here?) and would be simply horrified if anyone took a child or a teenager to see this film.
Yet at the same time, I would be dishonest if I did not state that this is a very entertaining, well crafted, and well-acted film. As I stated before, this film brings the viewer into a different world, a different way of thinking; a dark and sad way of thinking. A life without a relationship with Jesus Christ is exactly that, whether it’s a pimp or a Wall Street Lawyer, there is no satisfaction in riches or Earthly glory. No matter how successful or wealthy one gets, without Christ there is always going to be a feeling of dissatisfaction and emptiness. This movie displays that, whether it meant to or not, and that is it’s only redeeming quality.
Why you should see this movie:
If you want to see a feel-good movie this is not it. If you want a case-study of sin in the real world, this is a good start.