Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr., Ice Cube, Laurence Fishburne
Director: John Singleton
Running Time: 112 mins
Boyz N The Hood is an American film about a group of friends living in the Crenshaw ghetto in Los Angeles, as they attempt to survive the threat of gang warfare and break out from their lives there to achieve higher ambitions.
This is, at times, a fascinating and wholly convincing depiction of the issues that many people living in places like Crenshaw face. With strong performances across the board, there are great characters that you really want to learn about, however the only problem is that this film suffers from a lack of big drama and some pacing issues too.
But, on the positive side, you will find this at least an interesting watch. If you liked the newly-released Straight Outta Compton, then this is one that will expand on what you learnt in that film to look at the smaller people in these deprived areas.
It looks at how the culture and situation of the areas impedes on the aspirations of younger people who want to break out and do something better with their life, as well as touching on the theme of continual police persecution of blacks in the US and the inevitable problem of gang warfare.
On the whole, then, the themes are interesting to learn about, but what’s most fascinating about this film is the characters. Despite some having short tempers, all of the main players in Boyz N The Hood are easy to support and hugely intriguing to watch grow. The writing of all the characters is fantastic, as they play off of one another so perfectly, and make for a fascinating dissection of their various relationships.
As well as the writing, what also helps to make the characters so interesting is the performances. Cuba Gooding Jr., in the lead role, puts in an impressive show to make a character that is massively likeable and interesting, yet clearly not without his own flaws. Meanwhile, Ice Cube brilliantly plays the hot-headed friend, Morris Chestnut is great as the young aspiring college applicant, and Laurence Fishburne puts in a hugely unpredictable performance as the father of Cuba Gooding Jr.’s character, constantly changing your opinion of him as the film progresses.
So, you’ll now be wondering why this has only got a 7.1 from me, seeing as it’s so interesting. Yes, it is a fascinating topic with intriguing characters, but the film and the drama as a whole is not so captivating. Most of the drama is made up of various small incidents throughout the lives of these people that just don’t pack the needed punch to make it more exciting to watch.
For around an hour and a half, the plot is way too patient, and you don’t get genuinely captivating drama until the final act, which was a little disappointing to see, and that’s why I’m giving this a 7.1.