A Rage in Harlem
Time Out saysDuke's snappy, stylish, relentlessly pacy comedy-thriller, lighter than Chester Himes' source novel, is mostly very enjoyable. It charts the farcical situation that develops when Imabelle (Givens) arrives in mid-'50s Harlem with bullion stolen by her presumed-dead lover Slim (Djola). Hoping to do a deal with fence Easy Money (Glover) and needing a hideaway, she moves in with naive, pious undertaker's assistant Jackson (Whitaker), who reluctantly enlists the help of his criminal brother Goldy (Hines) when Slim turns up to regain both loot and Imabelle. The scene is thus set for funny, bloody intrigue involving hoodlums, cops, club-owners, and other cartoon-thin inhabitants of an improbably colourful Harlem; but for all the explicit violence, the film is less gritty noir than ebullient, good-natured fantasy.