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Hustle & Flow

Hustle & Flow

Total Film

May 2006

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Director Craig Brewer
Starring Terrence Howard, Anthony Anderson, Taryn Manning, DJ Qualls,
Cert 15

Film **** Extras ***

There's something cuddly about Terrence Howard's small-time Memphis pimp DJay in Hustle & Flow. Even when he's forcing his 'hos to prostitute themselves for a pricey microphone or chucking them out on the streets, you just want to give him a big hug and cheer him on in his quest to become a rap artist. That's both the strength of Howard's deeply sympathetic and vulnerable Oscar-nommed turn and the flaw in writer-director Craig Brewer's otherwise impressive film, which diminishes its mean-streets vibe by painting a sanitised gloss over the sleazier side of pimping.

That said, characters are well-drawn, Brewer has an earthy ear for dialogue and the music is compelling and addictive, most of it drawn from Southern hip-hop (as revealed in one of the disc's solid featurettes) - and the grinning presence of John Singleton all over the extras is a sure sign he's made his money back, after mortgaging his own house to get Hustle flowing.

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