Thursday, January 7, 2010

Brick City DVD



DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Rough Streets of Newark Showcased in Gritty 4-Hour Documentary


                Mayor Cory Booker may doing his best to resurrect Newark, but it looks like he’s fighting a losing battle, judging by Brick City, a riveting documentary focusing on the body count and wanton violence in the beleaguered New Jersey metropolis. The root of the problem is black-on-black crime emanating mostly from the never-ending, bloody turf war between the Crips and the Bloods as they wrestle for control of the lucrative drug trade.

The problem is that these youngsters without a functioning conscience don’t really wrestle but rather resort to guns to settle their differences. And like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, when attempting to execute drive-bys, their ricocheting and poorly-aimed bullets tend to knock off as many innocent pedestrians and bystanders as intended targets.

The movie devotes a great deal of attention to a budding romance between a Crip and a Blood, as if that’s some sort of step forward. However, in my mind, the couple would be a lot better off simply leaving both gangs behind for good, especially since they’re expecting a baby. I suppose that’s just not going to happen in a ‘hood where you have to choose a side to survive, and you better know what color to wear as you pass from block to block.

Another theme addressed here is that Mayor Booker is still seen by many as an Ivy League interloper. Consequently, his Police Director, a political appointment from New York City, doesn’t seem to have control of his own police force. There are constant rumors that he’s resigning, and there’s even an attempt to reduce the scope of his powers.

An eye-opening expose’ about a godforsaken town long past its glory days and now in need of far more than an image makeover, if it ever wants to be considered livable again.


Excellent (4 stars)


Running Time: 260 Minutes

Studio: First Run Features

2-Disc DVD Extras: Interviews with co-directors Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin, and executive producer Forest Whitaker, a “Behind-the-Scenes” featurette with Forest Whitaker, and 25 bonus scenes.

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