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Overall Rating

Awesome: 36.84%
Worth A Look: 10.53%
Average: 5.26%
Pretty Bad42.11%
Total Crap: 5.26%

1 review, 13 user ratings

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Redemption (2004)
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by Chris Parry

"Jamie Foxx is The Hurricane.... Oh, wait..."
2 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2004 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: At a Sundance that many consider to be one of the weakest in a long time, films like Redemption are easy to point at as the reason why. Jamie Foxx has set out to earn his acting chops playing a black man sitting in prison, trying to redeem himself after a lifetime of crime. If that's all you knew, you'd guess that a journalist comes to him seeking an interview, and at first he's reticent to talk, but eventually the two of them help each other find a point in life. Oh crap, I've just given the entire film away.

And I really have.

Jamie Foxx plays Tookie Williams, the guy that founded the infamous Crips street gang. Tookie is a man with a lot of blood on his hands, being as his Crips are basically held responsible for half of the 'gang culture' that has seen America gripped in a storm of gunfire, drugs and death for the last few decades. As black America tries to push through generations of discrimination and intolerance, it is the Crips and the Bloods that push it back, as they kill each other and those around them in a half-assed dick fight to prove who has the biggest balls.

That's Tookie's legacy for the world. Until of course he's locked awya in prison for the rest of his natural life. Then, of course, he begins looking for something more.

But hey, I'm simplifying things. First comes the history professor who finds her son is being drawn to the gangs, so she decides to write a book on the Crips. She comes to Tookie, who ain't buyin', until he begins studying a dictionary. Soon, he's centered in on the word 'redemption', and offers to do the interview after all.

And that's when Tookie decides to do good.

Director Vondie Curtis Hall decided to film this flick in HD video, in order to give it a little gritty realism, but nothing can give realism to a film so anchored in melodrama, overwrought emotion and... let's face it... boredom.

Foxx certainly delivers a strong dramatic turn, considering the weak material he's working with, but the whole feels like a direct to HBO Sunday night playhouse. The words "guest starring CCH Pounder" in the opening titles give the viewer no reason to feel otherwise, being as you might have seen those words at the beginning of an episode of The Love Boat if you weren't watching them at Sundance.

Ultimately, the message is unclear. Is Tookie really expecting redemption? Can he ever possibly correct the ills he's wrought on society? If Hitler had sat in prison for twenty years and one day read a dictionary, would anyone give a damn if he suddenly decided to try to make the world a better place?

The egg is broken, Tookie. Enjoy the showers.

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originally posted: 01/28/04 10:06:04
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

12/07/06 hosay hamanas Peuk, vomit, blaaaagh, 1 stars
6/27/06 millersxing To play devil's advocate: how many would condemn Oskar Schindler? (Is Took not similar?) 4 stars
3/01/06 c Kendrick Jamie Foxx is wonderful. Movie lacks substance on William's gansta days and why prison 3 stars
10/04/05 Alex nowles great film foxx was great and it realy moved me and help me change my ways 5 stars
9/09/04 kike allright 5 stars
7/10/04 Anna I thought it was quite accurate, insightful, and didn't glamorize crime as many films do. 5 stars
4/20/04 Domonique Garner I think that the movie was great ,fantastic, awesome they.Make one about his life 5 stars
4/14/04 eric pretty bad 2 stars
4/13/04 Suquisha Jones the road to hell is paved w/ good intentions - i find it difficult to feel sorry for him... 2 stars
4/12/04 Yvonne Telp I thought it to be a great movie 5 stars
4/12/04 Julia Jacqueline Marie Smith Jamie Foxx Did a great job in the movie, I give him to thumbs up. 5 stars
4/12/04 Rashad Watson Who are we to judge 4 stars
4/12/04 Mrs. Horne I thought this film was very inspiring and informative. 5 stars
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  11-Apr-2004 (R)
  DVD: 24-Aug-2004



Directed by
  Vondie Curtis Hall

Written by
  J.T. Allen

  Jamie Foxx
  Lynn Whitfield
  CCH Pounder

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