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A multi-racial group of teenagers in New York make extra money selling stolen items to their peeschhol children: running shoes, CDs. . . nothing major. They all have their own stories, but we focus on Marcus, a 15 year old white boy whose grandma runs a bar and is his sole family contact, except his mother Ė in prison. His fatherís been dead 10 years. Marcusís 15th birthday party has to go on without her: she couldnít get out as she said she might. He meets Melena, a pretty schoolgirl, and somewhat of a captive to her angts ridden father. Her motherís gone. She yearns for Alaska, where she has family. They form a bond that strengthens when they discover the truth about both their fathers. In the meantime, Marcusí team want to move up to car theft, and Marcus resists. They do, however, burgle a home, stealing valuables Ė and a gun. After a confrontation with Melenaís father, Marcus elopes with Melena. But hanging over him is the fearful consequence of stealing the gun, leading to a terrible complication.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
First of all, donít be confused about Morgan J. Freeman. The J is to let us know he isnít the black actor turned director. This Morgan Freeman has directed a number of independent (of any studio) films before, including Boom, and three or four others. Itís his first time, though as the scriptwriter and also as one of the producers. Now to the film, which in the US is called Hurricane Streets (released October 24, 1997), a more apt title methinks to the locally released Hurricane, with its indication of subject matter. Itís not a sequel to Twister. Set in New York, but a rarely seen aspect of it, Hurricane Streets concerns a multi-ethnic group of teenagers. They make money through petty theft and meet up in a bunker beside the river, joshing each other. The focus is on Marcus (Brendan Sexton jnr), a 15 year old whose mum is in prison, not for what Marcus thinks, and whose dad has died, not how Marcus has been told.†

By the time he discovers the truth about his folks, all sorts of things have happened to him, over the two days that the film covers. He has resisted his groupís urges to steal a car, escalating their criminal activity to a point beyond which he doesnít wish to go, and he has met a girl, Melena (Isidra Vega), whose sole parent father has violent tendencies.†

When tragedy strikes, as it surely will when fate is tempted, the young neo-lovers run. All of this is told with fluency, energy and cinematic prowess, and there is much more to the emotional journey than the surface plot. Thatís why itís such a satisfying film; and the hung ending should make us all consider our own response in the extraordinary situation in which Marcus finds himself. Freeman has a lot to say in this film, about human nature, about the grey areas of morality and about the ongoing, devastating effects of parental abuse.

Published August 28, 2003

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CAST: Brendan Sexton jnr, Shawn Elliott, Josť Zuniga, David Roland Frank, Carlo Alban, Antoine McLean, Mtume Gant, Lynn Cohen, Edie Falco, Heather Matarazzo, Damian Corrente, David Moscow, L.M. Kit Carson, Isidra Vega

DIRECTOR: Morgan J. Freeman

SCRIPT: Morgan J. Freeman

OTHER: AWARDS: Winner Sundance Film Festival 1996; Audience Award Best Director, Best Cinematography

RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes

PRESENTATION: video aspect ratio; feature 4 : 3 fullscreen; Dolby Ditigal stereo



DVD RELEASE: July 21, 2003

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