Belly (1998)

Always nice to see two rap all-stars in the ghetto.

A modern coming of age story which chronicles the lives of two childhood friends, Tommy Brown and Sincere, as they climb the rungs of organized crime. To many in his neighborhood, 17-year-old Tommy is the Ghetto president–a womanizing charismatic thug consumed by wealth and power. In stark contrast to Tommy, Sincere is a refined intellectual who, between scores, occasionally likes to read and spend time with his family. Suddenly their trust and loyalty are challenged as it becomes clear that they want different things out of life.

Needless to say this is surely one of the most stylized urban drama films I have ever seen. If your looking for a real blend of neo-noir and urban gangster films well here is one for you.

The looks in this film are very great and more beautiful than important. The film shows it has a style that does fit in well with it’s setting and creates a more violent and also very dangerous place to be in unlike many other urban drama films.

The problem with this film is that it’s all about the style and barely about the story at the all. I felt the plot was weak and was also very influenced by Scarface. Such as lines, scenes, and even gang scenes seemed as they were exactly like Scarface.

The plot starts to get out of control with gratuitous sex, on-going violence which seemed to showy, and also too many drug use. The film seemed true and did show its point, but just not as well as many other urban dramas such as Boyz In The Hood or Poetic Justice, this just felt too stereotypical.

I will say that Nas and DMX do actually have some pretty good performances in this. Though they don’t save this movie they actually do give very credible performances from two rappers of their credit, and I also found Nas’ narration actually added feeling to scenes and created a better feel to the film.

Consensus: Belly is heavily stylized but has too much of that and barely a plot that turns out to be just way too violent.


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