What You Need To Know:
(H, LLL, VVV, S, NN, D, M) Humanism; approximately 144 obscenities & 10 profanities; several shootings & two men are beaten with chains; two scenes of implied promiscuity; two scenes of brief male nudity; drug deals feature prominently in the story; and, themes of revenge and betrayal also featured prominently.
Alienation and emotional battle fatigue are at the core of FRESH, a disturbing new thriller by first time director Boaz Yakin. Newcomer Sean Nelson plays the title character, a bright 12-year-old boy whose daily routine consists of going to school, running drugs for the powerful neighborhood dealers and then stashing the day’s profits in his secret hideout. It takes the death of an innocent girl and the drug addiction of his sister to make his contempt quietly erupt into a plan to escape from the projects while making the local drug lords pay for their sins.
FRESH benefits from strong performances by all the principals, especially Sean Nelson whose portrayal of Fresh as a battle-hardened survivor of the Urban Wars of ’94 is poignant, tragic and scary. A look into his eyes is a look into the future and a reminder that, in war, the children that survive sometimes deserve more pity than those who die. Regrettably, like other films dealing with life in the projects, FRESH’s script is laden with obscenities and violence, so moviegoers should beware. The film does not attempt to understand, explain or assign blame for why life in the projects is the way it is; rather, it uses the elements of the genre to fashion a taut suspense thriller worthy of Hitchcock.