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GRIDLOCK'D

SYNOPSIS:
A buddy comedy. Stretch (Roth) and Spoon (Shakur) are best friends working in a band with Cookie (Newton). Stretch is one crazy junkie. Spoon is young, sensible and calm. He cleans up after Stretch’s messes. One New Year’s Eve, Cookie overdoses and ends up in a coma. Spoon makes a resolution that they will kick the habit. But what becomes harder than the habit they are trying to beat, is the bureaucracy they face. So with a pair of pissed-off drug dealers on their tail and cops who have mistaken them for killers, Spoon and Stretch desperately take to the streets of Detroit in search of their goal: rehab.

"Before his tragic, early death at 25, Shakur quipped on the set of this film that ‘me and Tim always joke that we’re the new Danny Glover and Mel Gibson, only I’m the Mel Gibson and he’s the Danny Glover . . . we look like the two most unlikely action stars in the world.’ Perhaps so, but they look like the two most unlikely comedy stars in the world, as well. Gridlock’d fits neither genre easily, and that’s not meant to be a criticism; Curtis Hall scoops up a shovelful of street life and scatters it on the screen with such bravado it takes your breath away. The complexities of character override the action tag, and the humanity in the writing and direction deliver humour. The film has abundant veracity, a dynamic structure and ferocious performances.(And a great deal of what the classification board calls ‘coarse language’.) While the central theme of the film is about the friendship between the two central characters, Curtis Hall also manages to show the ugly rituals of drug taking, the unglamorous side of the glue that holds Spoon, Stretch and Cookie - the girl singer in their group - together. Gridlock’d is neither pretty nor comfortable, perhaps because it has grown out of an urban America that is neither of those things."
Andrew L. Urban

"There is a lot of truth in the lyrics of ‘Life Ain’t Nothing But a Traffic Jam’, and Vondie Curtis Hall’s debut film (he also co-wrote this song from the film) brings an achingly real slice of life filled with harsh reality and humour. There’s something endearing and likeable about the two key characters, through whose eyes we see life on the street. They are complex characters, flawed - yes, but each possessing a certain almost child-like innocence which belies his situation. It’s a character driven plot, and Tim Roth and Tupac Shakur both deliver bold, yet vulnerable and totally satisfying performances. They are no-frills characters, who need each other desperately: Stretch needs Spoon to think clearly, while Spoon needs Stretch for life’s more basic requirements. Thandie Newton is terrific as Cookie, the catalyst for them both to clean up their acts; watch for Curtis Hall’s appearance as one of the no-nonsense killers. The script is fast and furious, and richly colours the frenetic life style on the side of the tracks where life is tough. Those of us who despair at bureaucracy will love the scenes where Spoon and Stretch experience the worst of the system first hand. The feeling is just perfect - right down to the casting of the arrogant and less-than-helpful department employees. The scene where blind man James W. Stewart with his seeing eye dog Nixon get tired of being given the run around is one soaked with black humour and to which we can all relate. The action is made cohesive with an upbeat soundtrack which gives the film pulse. The subject matter will no doubt appeal to a young audience, but well satisfies anyone interested in the human condition. Gridlock’d delivers a punch."
Louise Keller

"This could well be one of the most underrated films of the year, one ignored and dismissed by American critics and audiences alike. A black, but certainly not a bleak, comedy, Gridlock'd is a wonderfully realized comment on the entanglements of beaurocracy at its most ridiculous. All that Stretch and Spoon want is the chance to turn the tables on the drug habit that is screwing their lives and endangering the life of the beautiful Cookie. But getting into rehab is no mean feat, and results in moments of pure comic inventiveness. Here is a film that audiences should identify with, as the red tape that these two luckless guys have to fight, can be anywhere. The whole film is directed with consistent energy by the film's writer Vondie Curtis-Hall (an actor on TV's Chicago Hope), based partly on his own drug-related experiences. It's an extraordinary directorial debut, a fast-paced, high energy masterwork, whose well-crafted images fly thick and fast. The performances are as energetic as the film itself, from the riveting Tupac Shakur, murdered so senselessly, and whose star may well have risen through his dazzling work in this film. Tim Roth is always a pleasure to behold, and again doesn't disappoint, while the beguiling Thandie Newton, though on screen briefly, glows as Cookie. Superbly shot and cleverly cut, Gridlock'd is a fast, funny, intelligent piece that is also highly individual and idiosyncratic."
Paul Fischer



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Tupac Shakur and Tim Roth


Thandie Newton


TIM ROTH INTERVIEW

THANDIE NEWTON INTERVIEW


GRIDLOCK’d (R)
(US)

CAST: Tim Roth, Tupac Shakur, Thandie Newton

PRODUCER: Damian Jones, Paul Webster, Erica Huggins

DIRECTOR: Vondie Curtis Hall

SCRIPT: Vondie Curtis Hall

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Bill Pope

EDITOR: Christopher Koefoed

MUSIC: Stewart Copeland

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Dan Bishop

RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes

 

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: PolyGram

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 24, 1997 Sydney, Perth, Adelaide. (Other cities August)

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Universal
VIDEO RELEASE: AUgust 7, 2002







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