The Beat Release Date: 16 August 2005 (USA) Genre: Action | Comedy | Drama Director(s): Brandon Sonnier Writer(s): Brandon Sonnier Starring: Rahman Jamaal, Chino XL, Coolio Bravo. After watching The Thing Below, Raging Sharks, Slaughterhouse Massacre, Legion of the Dead, and The Volcano Disaster in a four-day period, I was desperately in need of a […]

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The Beat
Release Date: 16 August 2005 (USA)
Genre: Action | Comedy | Drama
Director(s): Brandon Sonnier
Writer(s): Brandon Sonnier
Starring: Rahman Jamaal, Chino XL, Coolio

Bravo.

After watching The Thing Below, Raging Sharks, Slaughterhouse Massacre, Legion of the Dead, and The Volcano Disaster in a four-day period, I was desperately in need of a movie that didn’t suck. I found it in the most unlikely of places, an urban film released by Ardustry Home Entertainment.

Despite Ardustry selling the film based off of rappers Chino XL and Coolio, their appearances likely do not equal two minutes between the two of them. This movie focuses on Rahman Jamaal’s character Phillip ‘Flip’ Bernard. He and his brother Cassius, known to him as Cash, are the offspring of an interracial marriage that provided them with a middle-class home and life. Flip and Cash found their calling in freestyle rap, but don’t get very far as a duo after Cash is stabbed in the stomach by a group of muggers (one being Chino XL) while the they and a friend leave a club. Going forward months later, Flip is still distraught, but intent on continuing with his rapping. His father isn’t having any of it, as his grief over his son translates to anger towards his other son’s dreams. Flip either gets a regular job, or he gets out of his home.

The Beat then splits the rest of its running time between the results of two different choices Flip could make. The first has Phillip giving up on his dreams and becoming a rookie cop that walks ‘the beat,’ while the second sees Phillip leaving his father’s home and living on the streets in order to experience a life he was always kept from. One of these choices leads to success, while the other leads to self-destruction.

I absolutely loved The Beat. Unlike just about every ‘urban’ movie out there, The Beat is a beautiful movie that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2003. The freestyle raps are eloquent, as are the situations that they are introduced in. For the first time in God knows how long, I actually cared about the characters and what was going to happen to them. While there are elements that I didn’t agree with, such as the random racism, it remains a strong and powerful movie that is one of 2005’s best.
DVD: There are two commentaries on the film. The first is with director/writer Brandon Sonnier, cinematographer Graham Futerfas and producer Jason Peterson. This track is relatively informative. What’s odd is that unlike most directors, Sonnier and crew don’t do a circle jerk over getting Chino XL and Coolio to do cameos in the film. They probably didn’t realize at the time that those cameos would get them prime video distribution. The second commentary is with cast members Rahman Jamaal, Keith Ewell, and Steve Connell. I listened to it for about twenty minutes before shutting it off, as it never really got going.

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The Beat, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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