Black And White (1999)

"Good"

Black And White (1999) Review


A very unique and brutal subculture exists in America these days. It's a strange juxtaposition of harsh street life and uber-materialistic greed tempered with a sense of justifiability from a code of unwritten ethics. The world is that of the gangsta rappers, the ghetto boys, and the thug-life advocators that dominate the world of hip-hop and rap music. Black and White, the latest film by James Toback, explores this subculture that grows stronger with every new generation it affects.

The hardest thing about an outsider trying to infiltrate a subculture and explain it to the masses is that the truth is often lost in the translation. Toback throws together a huge canvas of characters and actors in attempt to create a clear picture of why white kids are motivated to impersonate black rappers' lifestyles and why rich whit guys treat black rappers like Arnold and Willis from Diff'rent Strokes.

Everybody is in this film. Brooke Shields and Robert Downey Jr play documentarians trying to capture the essence behind the influence of the hip-hop movement on Generation Y kids. Ben Stiller is a cop trying to take down one of the hip-hop artists portrayed in the film by Power (of the rap group Wu-Tang Clan). A crop of newer faces - Jared Leto, Gaby Hoffman, Scott Caan, William Lee Scott - appear throughout in the film in various supporting roles. But the strangest casting for the film, I must admit, is Mike Tyson. The scary thing is that he pulls off a decent job. Which is a selling point of the movie: Overall, the film is filled with actors stretching their acting chops and trying to work against type and prove they're above their usual mediocre material.

Toback directs the actors in the film to improv their way through a roughly written script and, in turn, try to make some sense of the strange plot twists. Some of the scenes work well, especially one where Robert Downey Jr hits on Mike Tyson, but some of the scenes have that "movie of the week" feeling. The main fault with the film is that it fails to make any real statement about its subject matter or explain much about the actions of the characters. Was Toback's intent to explore the hip-hop culture or simply to exploit it like the rich, white guys in the film? Then again, that's how he cast himself in the movie. And you know, I guess that's what he really is.

I said a-hip, hop...



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.