STRAIGHT OUT OF BROOKLYN Add To My Top 10
Release Date: May 22, 1991
Audience: Young people (especially
blacks) and adults
Runtime: 95 minutes
Director: Matty Rich
Producer: Matty Rich
Writer: Matty Rich
Address Comments To:Mr. Samuel Goldwyn, Jr.
The Samuel Goldwyn Co.
10203 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Living in the filthy, run-down "Red Hook" housing project, Dennis Brown is an African-American teenager who dreams of getting ahead with a college education. Unfortunately, "white man" has been "keeping him down all his life," and Dennis' father is an alcoholic who beats his wife.
When Dennis' mother realizes her life is in danger, she wants to leave but can't for a lack of financial support. To help out, Dennis and his friends rob a local drug dealer. When Dennis presents the money to his family, however, his father's anger turns to rage as he knocks his wife unconscious, putting her in critical condition at the hospital.
Walking home heartbroken for what he has done, Dennis' father is recognized by the drug dealer's henchmen, who gun him down in the Red Hook streets. Meanwhile, Dennis' mother dies in the hospital.
Touted as a "provocative, honest and dynamic film" by some Hollywood press, STRAIGHT OUT is an exercise in self-pity. Tacked on to the end of the film is a message to blacks that "we must change." Made clear throughout the film, however, is the premise that white society is the ultimate cause of such tragedy. Moreover, STRAIGHT OUT absurdly claims that our country is fundamentally racist and that the American dream is built upon the backs of oppressed blacks.
STRAIGHT OUT's only strength is that it attempts to realistically portray life on Brooklyn's streets. Unfortunately, this "plus" is also its biggest minus, with graphic depictions of murder along with rampant obscenity.
Perhaps if this film, with its technical and structural problems, were made by a white 19-year-old, it would have premiered on late-night cable rather than the silver screen.