When this movie burst into theaters in 1991, it caused a bit of commotion.
It was heralded by some as being an eye-opening account of life in troubled
communities of inner city Los Angeles. It was condemned by others as a violent
exploitation of the same issue. To anyone that's ever seen it, it's clear that
the latter opinion is obviously that of someone who hasn't seen the film or
didn't pay any attention to it.
N the Hood (1991)
Starring: Cuba Gooding, Jr, Ice Cube, and
The film focuses on the lives of three young men in the Crenshaw area of Los
Angeles. Tre (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) moves in with his father (Laurence Fishburne)
when his mother decides to go to school and get a better job. Across the street
live Ricky (Morris Chestnut) and Doughboy (Ice Cube), two brothers who couldn't
be any different. Ricky wants to play professional football and Doughboy seems
happy to be a thug without any real ambition.
The neighborhood where these young men live is full of the problems and dangers
of the inner city. Drugs, crime, guns, alcohol, sex and gangs all provide a
plethora of ways to get into trouble as a young person. Somehow, the three
manage to stay fairly clear of trouble, except for Doughboy, who is arrested
for stealing from a convenience store and is sent to juvenile detention until
The movie's script, written and directed by John Singleton, documents in great
detail how things are in the inner city and tries to explain through his characters
what it's like to deal with these situations everyday. Much explanation comes
by way of Furious Styles, Tre's dad, who teaches his son and his friends about
the way the neighborhood is kept in shambles by outside influences. His explanations
make a lot of sense and, for those that are unfamiliar with these types of
neighborhoods, might even sound unbelievable. Unfortunately, most of it is
The violence that some may criticize this movie for glorifying (which it doesn't)
is a very real part of these character's everyday life. A statistic shown at
the beginning of the film says that one in every 21 black males will die from
gunshot wounds inflicted by another black male. The film shows how different
people faced with these types of surroundings deal with them. It's not always
a pleasant film, but that's the point. This isn't a pleasant place to live.
The performances, the script, and the musical score hit on all cylinders,
making this one of the most intense films I've seen. Although, it's obvious
that certain situations are set up merely to deliver certain lines of dialogue
or make certain points, they're worth hearing. I urge everyone to see this
film and make up their own mind. You may not agree with everything the movie
has to say, but at least you will have had the opportunity to make a decision
about something that gets very little attention.
John Singleton has a cameo in the film as a mailman. (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)