August 31, 2015

Snow On Tha Bluff

Damon Russell, 2011
One of the first thoughts that you will likely have when watching Snow and being introduced to the Curtis Snow character is “this reminds me of The Wire”. You aren’t alone. Even The Wire’s Omar Little himself, Michael Kenneth White, discovered the film and felt so connected to it that he hopped on in an executive producer role.

In a sense it’s a more raw film than the Wire. Perhaps it’s because The Wire had so much structure, with significant character build-up over the course of its five season run. Snow is completely absent of structure, a quality of the found footage genre but also because the movie is built around the premise of a drug dealer stealing a handheld camera from a group of college kids and filming his life. Because of that foundation, the movie has such a realness to it, an honesty to it. Curtis is not really a good guy in any sense. It’s very difficult to extract any real redeeming qualities from him. He’s a absent father, showing up to be a spotty father when he feels fit. When he is forced to spend time with his child, he exposes the toddler to all sorts of drugs, alcohol and firearms that no child should be in close proximity of. Actually, while we are on that, that’s probably the most disturbing element in the entire film. He also takes pride in the street violence that he was a part of. He talks about fallen friends that died in the streets as though they were soldiers that died fighting honorably. To him a short life expectancy is just a given where he comes from. He is vengeful, using guns / force as a first resort. He demonstrates leadership qualities which is why he is able to surround himself with some thugs. Probably because when he does succeed in ripping off a group of dealers, he does share the rewards. It’s another film with a rather despicable central figure that still somehow pulls you in.
The rawness and lack of structure is one of the best attributes because it is able to create a 90 minute docudrama that feels unique stylistically. But it’s also what separates it from pure quality street-crime pictures like the Mesrine films or City of God.

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