With Cut Throat City, RZA tackles the story of four boyhood friends in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward who return after Hurricane Katrina to find their homes decimated, with no jobs, and no help from FEMA. Out of options, they reluctantly turn to a local gangster, who offers them one shot by pulling off a robbery. When the job goes awry, the friend run while being hunted by two detectives and a neighborhood warlord intent on recovering his stolen money.
Watching the aftermath of how Katrina affected its residents on an economic level, hits home with an even strikingly poignant chord now with millions of Americans out of work and struggling due to the pandemic. The images of a flooded NOLA, people on roofs, freeways cracked in half is a painful reminder of just how devastating and horrible an event that day was in American history.
The four friends Blink (Shameik Moore), Andre (Denzel Whitaker), Junior (Keean Johnson) and Miracle (Demetrius Shipp, Jr) represented the best and the worst of an inner city urban neighborhood with drug dealers, dog trainers, artists and musicians driving home the point that our young Black men have aspirations and goals that sometimes have no choice but become a dream deferred with no no clear expiration date in sight.
Kudos to scribe P.G. Cuschieri, who provide a dialogue for once laden the way black people really talk (although I could’ve used a little less use of the “N’ word) making scenes hysterically entertaining laden with this drama filled flick.
Cut Throat City gave me vibes of Set It Off with a Big Easy backdrop and some stellar performances from their core cast, T.I. (who was frighteningly sexy as ‘Cousin’), Wesley Snipes, Terrance Howard and Ethan Hawke. Hawke’s cemetery monologue is absolutely epic reminding you of why his star ascended in the first place. At the end of the day, the film leaves you with knowing that life isn’t always about the happiness or what brings it, but the meaning of what happiness is and the shapes, forms and consequences it comes in.
Even though the plot gets a little muddy and convoluted in some spots, it’s still worth a watch and is available via VUDU and Amazon Prime Video.