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Festivale Spring 1997

Hurricane Streets

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Brendon Sexton III, Hurrricane Streets

Brendon Sexton III, Hurricane Streets

This film won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival. Which means that this tale of youthful crime and punishment obviously rang true to the audience. The award puts reviewers in a bind, after all, if we don't feel the same resonance, are we somehow lacking? Preview magazine found it necessary to give the criminals a sort of Robin Hood morality, "stealing ... only from the big stores, never from the Mom-and-Pop corner shops".

In fact, this nineties version of Our Gang steal from everyone, including friends and family and those who trust them.

Set in New York's Lower East Side, Hurricane Streets (previously called Hurricane) is about a group of boys who take orders for goods, then steal them, who hang out in an old bomb shelter lit by stolen car batteries, feed on stolen goodies, and basically draw the line at felonies, because that means jail time. There isn't a moral question here. They don't steal from one corner shop, because it will belong to a club member one day. But they do steal from one another.

It would be interesting to know how like protagonist Marcus the writer/director Morgan is, because he believes the character and the actor (Brendon Sexton) makes the film work. He says, "if people go with Brendan, fall in love with Brendan, it's going to have a new and disturbing effect on them, and that's what's going to set the film apart. It's going to have emotional resonance." and at Sundance, "..people were glazy-eyed and in love with the character."

I found Sexton's tendency to hunch away from the camera and move in a way that suggested emotional disability to be distancing, not endearing. The character has some sense of responsibility for his gang, but his 'honour' does not extend outside his immediate circle.

There is humour, and there is drama, and there is a 'who will escape?' ending. But the reference to homicide "there are 187 ways out of the city", and the music and the youngsters and the trousers cut at the knees and the ghetto-justified immorality in all these films (Kids, One Eight Seven et al) seem to be part of a cinematic wallowing in the urban mud pond. One looks to the smaller-budget independent (indie) films for unique viewpoints, not more of the same.

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Just the facts:

Title: Hurricane Streets
Written by: Morgan J. Freeman
Directed by: Morgan J. Freeman
Produced by: L.M.Kit Carson; Morgan J. Freeman; Galt Niederhoffer, Gill Holland
Edited by Sabine Hoffman
Director of Photography: Enrique Chediak

The Players: Brendon Sexton III, L.M. Kit Carson;
Website: www.hurricanestreets.com (MGM)

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Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Filed: 14-Nov-1997 : Last updated: : Last tested: 22-Dec-2008: Last Compiled: 3-Jul-2014
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