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Menace II Society

Allen Hughes, Albert Hughes

A Watts teenager becomes so immersed in his violent world, he can’t get out.

“Menace II Society, the Hughes Brothers’ debut feature, and a response to John Singleton’s own powerful entry into black cinema, Boyz n the Hood. Not unlike JuiceClockers, or Straight Out of BrooklynBoyz is a tale of a young black man residing in hell (in this case South Central, but it could by NYC or Chicago, or any other urban American sprawl) who yearns for freedom and must break from his friends in order to achieve something like an escape.
For Allen and Albert Hughes, this was all a bit too simple, as well as sentimental. They aimed to set the record straight. What sets Menace apart, and makes it monumental, is the skill and precision with which the Hughes brothers dismantle the escape myth. It is a truly visionary work, a mix of style and gut-wrenching realism that once aims at the upper echelons of pure cinema while also providing a powerful, albeit nihilistic vision of the black experience.
Inspired by the films of Martin Scorsese, and particularly Goodfellas, the Hughes brothers employee the blueprint of the modern gangster film to tell their tale. It feels only fitting that a tale of youth grown up relating to Scarface and other gangster pictures should have their story told in its style. The filmmakers pull out all the stops: voiceover, extended hand-held and tracking shots; slow motion.” – Matt Carlin, In Search of Black Cinema, Mubi.com

“It’s maddening and enlivening. It’s brilliant and tacky. It’s funny and horrifying. It will gratify the worst elements in the crowd; it will engage the very best.” – Desson Thompson, Washington Post

“The films is one chillingly authentic scene after another…In the end it’s more of a war movie than Saving Private Ryan ever was” – Film Threat

“a ninety-seven minute odyssey that won’t be quickly forgotten.” – ReelViews

“The most stunning feature debut in the new African-American cinema, even more so than Boyz N the Hood.” – Emanuel Levy

“Nothing the Hughes brothers have done in their videos for Tone Loc, Tupac Shakur and others prepares you for the controlled intensity and maturity they bring to their stunning feature debut.” – Rolling Stone


  • 2/15 | 9:30PM
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