Synopsis – Follows the lives of three young males living in the Crenshaw ghetto of Los Angeles, dissecting questions of race, relationships, violence, and future prospects – Boyz n the Hood
Director – John Singleton
Starring – Cuba Gooding Jr, Laurence Fishburn, Morris Chestnut, Ice Cube
Released – 1991
For fans of – Dope, Blindspotting, Menace II Society
Boyz n the Hood prides itself on its authenticity, this is a deep dive into the lives of inner-city black men in the early 90s, the hopes and dreams of all involved are counteracted by the brutal nature of living somewhere where death is a constant possibility. But it’s the stellar acting across the board that’s the main reason for the film’s lasting legacy.
Almost electric at times, Laurence Fishburne was outstanding as a father trying to safely guide his son out of the hood through a combination of tough love and sage advice. Cuba Gooding Jr also gives a memorable performance as a teen trying to navigate a world where the cards are stacked against you, however, it’s Ice Cube I found the most compelling, with his tough exterior hiding a clearly vulnerable and damaged interior due to years of seeing friends gunned down in the streets and next to no help coming from the outside world.
The impact writer-director John Singleton made with this movie is impressive, not only because he was in his early 20s at the time of production or because he became the first African American to be nominated for Best Director a the Academy Awards, but also how unafraid he was to take risks and tackle the important issues facing African-American youths, which to some can feel a little on-the-nose, this, however, fit with the brash nature of teens and the vibrant culture that they grew up with.
Overall, Boyz n the Hood is an inspiring and realistic tale of life in the 90’s inner city, which sadly isn’t too far removed from today’s inner-city life. Sure this isn’t the most subtle movie you’ll ever see and sure, some of the plot points are now a little cliche, but sadly these things really do happen and just like with Men of Honour, sometimes a filmmaker needs to change things for dramatic effect to ensure a film gets made and the audience keeps paying attention.