Life Is Hot In Cracktown (2009)
Director: Buddy Giovinazzo
Cast: Evan Ross, Kerry Washington, Victor Rasuk and Edoardo Ballerini
The gritty and devastating realities of life in downtrodden communities across the
A smorgasbord of drugs, sex, murder, prostitution and poverty, race and class informs the captivating storytelling, made all the more appealing by the strong performances from an impressive roster of actors, which comprises Kerry Washington, Evan Ross and Vondie Curtis Hall, among others.
Against this backdrop, we are introduced to a fascinating array of multi-layered characters, each dealing with a particular crisis by which they are increasingly tormented as they strive to make life in the fictitious, crime-plagued community of Cracktown.
Among the film’s main characters are Romeo (Ross), the ruthless leader of a teenage gang that terrorizes residents; a transgendered prostitute named Marybeth (
We also meet a young boy who must take care of his little sister after their drug-addicted mother and stepfather skip out. In the movie’s opening scene, a young girl is gang-raped by Romeo’s posse. The common thread that binds these people together is the resolve to survive in the face of the most extreme repression and hopelessness.
With nods to films like Tsotsi, Crash and City of
Giovinazzo gets props for his candid illustration of life in certain quarters too often ignored by the mainstream. He does a highly commendable job at weaving together the different strands of the story and building suspense (particularly as the ending approaches) in crafting his film, a hard-hitting meditation on crime, class and community.