Hustle & Flow (2005)

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Released 6-Jul-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Writer /Director Craig Brewer
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Featurette
Featurette-Memphis Hometown Premiere
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 111:34
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (56:53) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Craig Brewer
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Terrence Howard
Anthony Anderson
Taryn Manning
Taraji P. Henson
DJ Qualls
Ludacris
Paula Jai Parker
Elise Neal
Isaac Hayes
Jordan Houston
William Engram
Bobby Sandimanie
Haystak
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Paul Beauregard
Scott Bomar
Cedric Coleman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Dutch
English Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Produced by John Singleton with the help of MTV, and written and directed by Craig Brewer, Hustle and Flow is a critically acclaimed film that is definitely not your typical rags-to-riches showbiz story. Rather, Hustle and Flow is a quietly powerful film. Indeed, it's an expertly made, sensitive, low-key drama about hopes, dreams and regret that also manages to show us the value of human life, no matter how degrading the circumstances. It is no surprise that this film won the Sundance Film Festival's Audience Choice Award as Best Film. It's also no surprise that the film's star, the wonderful Terrence Howard, was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar.

    We have recently been treated to a few good Hip Hop films on the big screen, namely 8 Mile, Get Rich or Die Tryin', and Hustle and Flow. However, Hustle and Flow is an absorbing and moving film, even for those with no interest in Hip Hop music.

    Like Get Rich or Die Tryin', Hustle and Flow neither glamorises nor condemns a corrupt lifestyle. The filmmakers accept that prostitution and drug abuse are both part of our society, and seem to have decided against producing a finger-wagging morality tale. The filmmakers have rather chosen to focus on crafting a moving story about trying to regain one's hopes and dreams in a morally ambiguous and challenging world.

    The story is set in a poor, urban black area of Memphis. DJay (Terrence Howard) earns a living selling cheap drugs - mostly weed, and "pimping $20 whores" out of the back of his beat-up Chevy. His two women, the sexy Nola (Taryn Manning), and the pregnant Shug (Taraji P. Henson), are both terrified at what life has in store for them. Nola is young, and has just started out on a life of prostitution. Meanwhile, Shug is pregnant to a trick, and at the end of her career. Both women firmly believe that there is something else they could do - something better and worthwhile. They both want something to look forward to in their lives, but neither knows what it is.

    DJay is ill-educated, but obviously intelligent. He questions not only his life, but the world around him. His time on the streets have given him a skewed outlook on life, and he often launches into lengthy philosophical rants, often self-serving, to justify his choices and actions. But DJay is now at the same age his father was when he died, and like his "$20 whores", he suddenly realizes that he also wants more out of life.

    Inspired by the success of Skinny Black (rap star Ludacris), a former schoolmate who left Memphis and became a very successful rapper, DJay turns to Hip Hop music. As DJay starts writing his rap lyrics, all of his frustration, fear, and desperation pours out of him, and he scrawls his rhymes madly into a tiny notebook.

    Despite many setbacks, fate takes a positive turn for DJay when he runs into an old school friend, Key (Anthony Anderson). At school, Key dreamed of being a successful record producer, but he currently earns a living recording church choirs, school recitals and depositions for courts. Although initially sceptical, DJay's flow impresses Key. With the help of the gangly organist from his local church, Shelby (DJ Qualls), Key rigs a makeshift recording studio in DJay’s dilapidated house.

    DJay learns that Skinny Black is returning to Memphis for a July 4th party, and so ever the hustler, DJay plans to hustle Skinny into hearing his demo tape.

    The cast couldn't be any better, and Hustle and Flow boasts some of the finest writing, acting, and direction that you'll see on DVD this year. Howard, who built a respectable career as a supporting character actor in films like Crash and Ray plays DJay to perfection. Indeed, Howard's performance is truly amazing in its depth, complexity and subtlety. The fact that the audience finds themself rooting for this horribly flawed pimp and drug dealer says a lot.

    Even if you don't like Hip Hop, this film is definitely not to be missed!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Despite appearing to be a little grainy at times, the transfer overall is excellent, as one would expect of a recent film.

    The widescreen transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness is good throughout. The transfer's black level is excellent, with deep, true blacks. The shadow detail is also excellent. For example, consider the detail in the dark interior of the Memphis bar at 5:28.

    The colour is also excellent, with a well saturated palette. At times the colour is intentionally muted, which is effective. The skin tones are accurate.

    There are no problems with MPEG or Film-To-Video Artefacts. Tiny film artefacts appear infrequently throughout. Considering the film grain, I wonder if a cheaper film stock was used for this production, or if this was an artistic choice?

    English for the Hearing Impaired, Dutch, and English Audio Commentary subtitles are provided. The English subtitles are accurate.

    This is a single-sided, dual-layer disc, with the layer change placed at 56:53. The feature is divided into 19 chapters.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is only one audio option on the disc: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s).

    Despite the extensive use of ADR, the dialogue quality and audio sync are excellent throughout.

    The film's score is provided by Paul Beauregard, Scott Bomar, and Cedric Coleman. However, it's the Hip Hop tunes of Al Kapone, Lil' Boosie & Webbie, Nasty Nardo and P$C that are featured throughout, and which will be remembered.

    As a dialogue-based drama, I wasn't expecting much in the way of surround presence or LFE activity, but Hustle and Flow has a great sound design, and the rear speakers are used subtly throughout to help carry the score and provide ambience or effects, such as the passing rumble of the train at 47:50 or the panning beats of the score at 48:20. This  maintains a nice sound-field while keeping the viewer firmly focussed on the screen.

    The subwoofer is also utilised very subtly, and mostly to support the bass-heavy hip hop music throughout.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are a few interesting extras. Unless stated otherwise, all are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.

Menu

    Animated with audio

Audio Commentary-Writer /Director Craig Brewer

    Craig Brewer is quite a lively and passionate person when he speaks about this film. He struggled for many years to get it made, and it shows in the care and attention given to the finished product. In this commentary, Brewer, a native of Memphis, recalls how he met a DJay-like character one day which gave him the idea for the story. Along the way, there are a lot of behind-the-scenes stories and anecdotes and extensive discussion of the locations and actors used throughout.

Behind the Hustle (27:22)

    A collection of interviews with the producers, cast and crew, and some behind-the-scenes footage of the production.

By Any Means Necessary (14:42)

    The film took over four years to make, yet due to the limited budget it was shot in only four weeks. Producer John Singleton and Writer/Director Craig Brewer discuss how they had to hustle up the money to get the cameras rolling.

Creating Crunk (13:43)

    Featuring one of the film's composers, Scott Bomar, and Writer/Director Craig Brewer, this is a far too short look at the music in the film.

Featurette-Memphis Hometown Premiere (4:53)

    A short bit of footage featuring the red-carpet arrivals of the cast and crew of the film at its Memphis Premiere.

Promotional Spots

    A collection of teasers, which I assume were originally aired on MTV:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Hustle and Flow was released on DVD in Region 1, in January 2006.

    The Region 4 DVD misses out on:

    The Region 1 DVD misses out on:

    I would call it even.

Summary

    Do yourself a favour, and rent or buy Hustle and Flow.

    The video quality is a little grainy at times, but the transfer is excellent overall.

    The audio quality is also excellent.

    The extras are interesting and genuine.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Terrence Howard won't win next year's Oscar... - dlormans (This is my biography) REPLY POSTED