Menace II Society

Allen and Albert Hughes, USA 1993, 90 minutes

The 21-year-old Hughes brothers exploded onto the scene with this powerful, gritty drama set in the 'hoods of LA. We follow the dead-end existance of some of the residents of the Watts district, as they fall prey to the cycle of poverty, violence and dispair.

Caine (Tyrin Turner) is a small-time drug dealer who feels that he wants to escape the limiting world he lives in, but it's all he's ever known. Both his parents (a dealer and a junkie - not the best of role-models) are both dead, and the constant exposure to guns, drive-bys and revenge killings has left him with very little chance of escape.

Menace gives a graphic picture of the hopelessness that is felt by those stuck in the ghettoes, but at times seems to be trying to cover too much ground for one picture. This doesn't stop it from being compelling viewing, however - some scenes (e.g., the repeated viewing of the murder of a store owner from the security camera videotape) have an almost frightening air of truth.

"A cut above the rest care of its visceral pseudo-documentary style and passion for its subject ****" - Empire

Review by Alan Smithee
Taken from EUFS Programme 1996-97