Director: Hype Williams Run Time: 96 min. Release Year: 1998
Starring: DMX, Hassan Johnson, Nas, Taral Hicks, Tionne 'T-Boz' Watkins
Tommy Bundy and Sincere are best friends as well as infamous and ruthless criminals and shot-callers in the hood. Respected by many but feared by all. As the police are closing in on them and new players are looking for a come up, will their reign last?
“Sanctimonious, silly, occasionally brilliant and exquisitely vivid, Hype Williams’s Belly (1998) crowned the decade in which hip-hop swallowed popular culture, and we never looked back. The ascendance can be credited in large part to Williams, whose videos for Missy Elliott, Nas (who co-stars alongside DMX) and Jay-Z—as well as every other “urban artist” with a Top 40 hit in the 90s—established the visual paradigm for the biggest mainstream cultural transition since The Beatles. The Williams signature was and is immediately recognizable: gaudy, bright, smeared in saturated color, oiled-up, and fisheyed. The ubiquity of his aesthetic has waned, but there’s no denying his credential as court stylist during hip-hop’s first decade on the throne.” – Patrick Dahl, Screen Slate
“Remixes a decade of American crime cinema (including Ferrara, De Palma and Bill Duke) with a form of experimental hip-hop expressionism. A blaxploitation purification story told in idiosyncratic compositions drenched in passionate colors and sudden, incomprehensible explosions of violence. Doesn’t care about narrative coherency as much as it cares about capturing the intense feelings of its dark, oppressive environment; an entire network of pressure, isolation, and brutality that only ever gives you the illusion of individual choice/power. DMX plays it exactly right, all self-assured authority until it’s hollowed out and crushed and offered a chance to rebuild. Don’t know what I was expecting when I turned this on but I did not expect to be thinking about Takeshi Kitano or Seijun Suzuki. It’s a crime that Hype Williams didn’t get to develop this style further and that DMX didn’t get to act in more movies than he did. RIP to a king.” – Josh Lewis, Letterboxd