A post-tragedy, heist thriller, with a graphic novel storytelling style, is how I would describe the latest crime film CUT THROAT CITY written by P.G. Cuschieri and directed by the RZA – from the legendary Wu-Tang Clan.
Here’s the synopsis: “Cut Throat City” is the story of four boyhood friends in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, who return after Hurricane Katrina to find their homes decimated, no jobs, and no help from FEMA. Out of options, they reluctantly turn to a local gangster, who offers them one shot at turning their situations around – by pulling off a dangerous heist in the heart of the city. When the job goes bad, the friends find themselves on the run, hunted by two relentless detectives and a neighborhood warlord who thinks they stole the heist money.
The movie boasts an all-star line-up that includes Shameik Moore (Dope), Demetrius Shipp Jr. (All Eyez On Me), Denzel Whitaker (Black Panther), Keean Johnson (Alita: Battle Angel), Ethan Hawke (The Purge), Eiza Gonzalez (Baby Driver), Kat Graham (All Eyez On Me), Isaiah Washington (P-Valley), T.I. (Ant-Man), Terrence Howard (The Best Man Holiday), and Wesley Snipes (Dolemite Is My Name), and has some entertaining scenes – especially those involving Snipes, who really needs a starring role that allows him to shine. But it is also a bit confusing as the story develops. I had to re-watch several scenes to feel comfortable (enough) that I understood.
No area is more glaring than the major twist – which shall remain a spoiler, since you know how we do on this site. But I will caution you, when you watch, to pay close attention to the beginning and also lead character Blink’s (Moore) actions after a major moment in the third act (again not spoiling, but you’ll know it).
There was also a few things I wish were included, like the length of time post-Katrina the four young men re-connected and their families returned. Although damage was displayed in outdoor scenes, I didn’t see the decimation reflected in some of the main characters’ houses – leaving me curious to how possessions were gathered and what damage was done to their homes (were they even in their original homes?).
But I did love the casting. Two weeks ago, the AAFCA family sat with RZA in a virtual roundtable, where I asked him about the differences between working with the younger actors versus the vets in the film. You can watch his answer below, and see the full the video at The AAFCA Channel on YouTube. You can also check out the film’s trailer at the bottom of this post.
A crime and underdog story, that reflects how social disparities can impact choices of survival, “Cut Throat City” is a good story that unfortunately misses the mark of being greatly executed. I would rate it 2 out of 5 on the MMTrometer.
CUT THROAT CITY was released on July 31. Get additional information about the film at the official website here.
Until next thought, Thomasena