Thursday, November 18, 2010

See The Film Fresh

By Jana Hicks

Boaz Yakin is typically seen as a work-for-hire writer and director. It's not his fault, he's just a good writer with bills to pay, so he takes a lot of sub-par studio projects that don't really offer him anything interesting to do in the script. So it's weird that a movie like Fresh comes from someone with a track record for mediocrity, but Fresh really is one of the all time must see movie downloads.

This movie came after Boaz Yakin's self imposed exile. At a certain point, he became disillusioned with the film industry and declared that he would be taking a hiatus from writing, at least until he felt he had something important to say. The result was a movie that truly does make a powerful statement.

Fresh is the name of the young hero of the movie, a child who works as a drug mule for various dealers and scumbags around the city. He makes around twenty to fifty bucks per run, and saves it all up in a coffee can while his dealers have assumed he's been spending it on comic books and candy bars. What exactly is he saving it for? Well, you'll find out, and you'll be honestly shocked and surprised at exactly how deep his plans really go.

Fresh spends each weekend playing chess with his father, an alcoholic genius who's become estranged from the family. The chess serves as a metaphor for the scheme Fresh is hatching, as well as a sort of Greek chorus scene for the audience and for Fresh himself.

Think of it as Fistful of Dollars set in the ghetto. When a girl Fresh has a crush on, as well as a childhood friend, are murdered in a random shooting by one of the drug dealers he works for, Fresh hatches a plan to take revenge on all of the pushers and scumbags he deals with on a daily basis, freeing himself and his family from the clutches of the drug dealers.

The plan is complex, but easy to understand after you see the whole thing play out. Fresh's ingenuity is incredible, the way he plays one side against the other, all the while avoiding suspicion simply by virtue of being a child. They never suspect that they've been outwitted by a ten year old. So the question is how long he can keep the facade going, how long it takes to make everything work and free himself of these scumbag's control over his life once and for all.

The movie is, at times, brutally and shockingly violent. This is necessary to drive home the reality of Fresh's situation. He's not in a good place in life, his bosses menace him and threaten him with death at every turn, and he walks a tightrope in order to keep himself alive while at the same time taking down the people who torment him and his friends and family.

The film is truly one of a kind. Clockers runs in a somewhat similar vein, but Fresh is built around a truly unique concept. The movie takes a young child, around ten years old, and pits him against ruthless, violent, sociopath criminals. It's not a children's movie, even though the hero is a child. It is a film about the power of morality and righteousness over compromised morality and cruelty, and truly a fascinating thriller.

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