Hustle & Flow (2005) - dir. Craig Brewer
This little indie darling cleaned up at Sundance some years back and even won the boys from Three 6 Mafia an Academy Award. Following Djay (Terrence Howard) around town as he pimps out his bitches from his two-tone Crown Vic… well the film starts off as if its going to be an in-depth look at some types of folk that don’t usually appear on the silver screen. Then a homeless junkie gives Djay a keyboard (deus ex machina) and the film goes from harsh look into the Southern Hood and turns into a feel-good musical.
The thing about that crazy shift in tone is - it works. They both work. Howard makes it work so it works. The scenes in the makeshift studio with Howard, Shelby (DJ Qualls), Key (Anthony Anderson) and Nola (Taryn Manning) are positively infectious. When the film ultimately shifts back into its dramatic tone (oddly enough, this is when Ludacris shows up) it still succeeds but the transitions are too apparent and un-organic. Other than that, Hustle & Flow is a charmer, through and through.