Directed by Norman Jewison ("Moonstruck").
Written by Armyan Bernstein and Dan Gordon.
Starring Denzel Washington.
Release Year: 1999
Review Date: 1/19/00
We here at Bellview appreciate a movie as
much as the next person, and that's why we will shell out our
hard-earned cash to check out flicks on a regular basis. But,
because "The Hurricane" was showing at only three theaters here in
DC over its opening weekend, I had to see it at the semi-new Potomac
Yard 16 Cinemas in Alexandria. Don't get me wrong, I like stadium
seating as much as the next guy (Regal Cinemas had them five years
ago), and stereo surround sound and reasonably clean urinals are a
nice, not required, convenience.
But, who the FUCK told these people to start
charging $8.25 for a movie? EIGHT TWENTY-FIVE!!! As my good friend
Brian "Schmoove" Prenoveau related to me the other day, when he paid
for two tickets for "The Green Mile" last week at the Potomac Yard,
he gave the cashier a $20, and when he only got $3.50 back, he
quietly looked at the petty change left in his hand and wondered,
"So, am I getting a couple of hookers with that?"
Hence, the $7.50 show rating is now
officially being changed to $8.25 show, to reflect the current high
price in the DC area.
"The Hurricane" is based on the true-life
story of former welterweight great Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, whose
tome "The Sixteenth Round" is used as the basis for much of the
story. Basically, Carter is wrongly accused of murder in 1960s New
Jersey and given a triple-life sentence for his supposed actions in
a nighttime bar shooting. The majority of the movie is spent
following a black youth that reads "The Sixteenth Round" and, with
the help of three Canadian white people (not necessarily
one-and-the-same), help bust Carter out of jail.
THREE CANADIAN WHITE PEOPLE? COULD YOU BE
ANY MORE VAGUE?
Sorry, it's just that the exact role of
these three white people is still a little unclear to me. I mean,
because they are not really well-defined by the movie's script, it
is hard to tell if they are private investigators, educational
consultants, architects, or lawyers! I can tell that they are nice
people, I know that they are Canadian, and I know that they really
want to see Rubin set free. I picked up all of that. But, the
white people get the black youth to learn how to read and write,
give him money to send to Rubin, help dig up clues on how to get
Rubin out of jail, and do a damned good job of raking the leaves.
So, why do I not feel like I know these people, even though they are
the prime reason why Carter gets out of jail (sorry, this isn't a
surprise)? The editor of this film must have realized that 150
minutes is a long time for a movie to follow just one character, and
didn't feel like more scenes with the white people would have added
anything to my understanding.
In fact, in terms of moviemaking, Libby
"Tribe" Hiller was not at all impressed with how the filmmakers went
about telling the story, claiming that the story became too clichéd
down its inevitable happy-ending stretch. I can't disagree with
much of that, but it still hooked me even though I knew the
real-life story of how the details of the case came out near the end
of Carter's 19-year prison stay. My complaint would be that besides
Carter, every other role in the movie is just that: a role. You
know, the whole roles vs. characters argument. While the other
people in the movie have names, I don't need to tell them to you to
let you know what is happening. And, because you have never heard
of any them before, it's unlikely that you will find reason to get
into them emotionally; a little more star power would have helped,
because the acting in the other roles is very, very dismal.
But, the flip side of that coin is that
Denzel Washington is absolutely boss. He has the opportunity to
play Carter in his 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s, so he shows his range
masterfully and looks the part as a boxer during the few fight
scenes of the movie. And when he is talking to his lawyers about
whether or not to take his case to the Supreme Court ("I'm 50 years
old..."), he had most of the audience--and, almost me--in tears. He
is far and away the best part of the movie, but even Washington
cannot save the movie's other performances. But, the movie is a
good ride even without strong performances, and makes a good
all-around flick for friends, dates, and families (the R rating is
for some irregular strong language and bloody depictions of the
murders that Carter never committed).
Rating: $8.25 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard