Remarkably, Singleton was just 23 when he wrote and directed what is now recognised as a seminal film, one that was instrumental in ushering in a new phase of black filmmaking in the US.
Set against the backdrop of early eighties South Central LA, the film focuses upon Tre Styles (Gooding Jr), a young man who is trying to navigate life in a community ravaged by drug addiction, poverty, gangs and police harassment.
Hard-hitting and direct, Singleton’s story has an authenticity that is ably delivered by a fine cast, including Angela Basset, Laurence Fishburne, Cuba Gooding Jr and Ice Cube who brings to his acting debut the same presence and rawness that characterised his writing and rapping for the notorious and influential N.W.A.
25 years on from its first release, with racial tension between black communities and the police in the US at fever pitch, this film feels as urgent and relevant as ever.
Crime | Drama
Dir. John Singleton, US, 1991, 112 mins
Cast: Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett, Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut