Cut Throat City ⭐️⭐️⭐️
This dropped into theaters out of nowhere on our radar. Didn’t see any advance fanfare and liked the choice of the background for a crime thriller set during the Hurricane Katrina timeframe. The New Orleans area was ripped apart and flooded and I’ve often wondered why his wasn’t used as the backdrop for more movies (maybe it has been and have just missed them).
Unfolding in the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, RZA’s trenchant take on the synergistic interaction of poverty and greed gradually loses focus as it devolves into a familiar account of warring gangsters, corrupt politicians and a city struggling for redemption. Cut Throat City will doubtless grab the attention of RZA’s diverse fanbase, but looks unlikely to make a significant mark among contemporary crime dramas.‘Cut Throat City’: Film Review | Hollywood Reporter
… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …
In and out of the theater fast
We saw this on opening weekend and it was gone shortly thereafter from the theater. This isn’t a positive sign normally for interest in the film, but I think this one got a bad break because there was a lot here.
When you see this on streaming — probably soon, I’d imagine — it’s worth checking out.
Too long, yes, the modern version of filmmaker’s bloat
RZA must subscribe to the Oliver Stone and Martin Scorsese school of longer films are better. Sure, they can be, if the material supports the run time. Otherwise, it’s just going to irritate moviegoer bladders. This film is weighted down by a gang of characters that have some subplots and arcs, but not enough to warrant the run time.
Part of the problem is there are trying to be too many tales told. Is this about the corruption of FEMA? Poverty in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina? A botched casino robbery? A group of friends making bad decisions? A vicious crimelord? A man who tries to get a job, fails and then turns to crime? It’s about all of these things … and yet never really commits to any single one.
The throw everything against the wall and see what sticks film style leaves the viewer feeling undecided about what to care most about.
Hurricane Katrina backdrop is great
A positive that I just couldn’t get over when watching was how good the background was for this story. It seemed well researched and the dark and gritty cinematography was catchy. This kept me in the movie, despite the other flaws.
Let’s talk about the double ending
Yes, not one ending, but two. As you can tell from our review, we were more than a little confused which ending was correct. Since we’re in spoiler territory, we can talk about the ending in the comments. We’re not sure if it was the happy ending or the other ending … which one?
Reviews by Others
What do others think of Cut Throat City?
- A King Named Simba (7/10): “The movie is a little weighed down by superfluous characters, but the performances are strong overall and the story is grounded in a reality missing from most heist movies.”
- Film Inquiry / Zachary David Rogers: “A film like Cut Throat City could easily fall into cliches in its treatment of race, poverty, and crime, but RZA, screenwriter P.G. Cushieri, and the magnificent cast of this film constantly work to humanize the characters and to help us understand how their actions grow out of their material circumstances.”
- J. Luke Carney / Ludicrous Movie Reviews (70/100): “It feels like forever since I’ve seen engaging storytelling like this”
- Jonita Davis / Blerd Galaxy Magazine: “…is not your average heist film. In addition to being an epic journey, the story begins and ends with a celebration of Black love that makes the perfect bookends to this story…until RZA’s pipe wrench of an ending comes in to play with your emotions.”
- Joe Baker / Dallas Film Now: “Juggling all these characters, Cut Throat City eventually loses its drive and devolves into cliche violence begetting violence. Unlike last year’s Queen and Slim that poses some of the same candid reverberations about racial inequality and a Bonnie-and-Clyde-like middle-finger-to-America saga of promising livelihoods gone wrong, RZA’s film lacks the nuance that made Melina Matsoukas’ film so incisive.”
- Music City Drive-in / Richard Valero: “The film was far from perfect, and it surely had some flaws, but overall it is a very watchable movie. The story is somewhat easy to follow after that rough around the edges opening thirty minutes. You find yourself invested in what is to come, and that’s what makes the film good.”
- rogerinorlando / Movie Nation: “…even though RZA makes GREAT use of the city and delivers a movie rich with local color and atmosphere, even though characters make relevant points about poverty, exploitation and corruption from the locals all the way up to the Feds, even though he rounded up a good cast, “Cut Throat City” never gets on its feet and on the move.”
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