Black and White
Time Out saysAutumn in Central Park: two girls and a guy are making the beast with three backs. They split: uptown, white teen Charlie (Phillips) takes her seat for supper (quail) and a spat with her patrician family; downtown, black teen Rich (Wu-Tang Clan's Power) comes up against the prejudice of a recording studio manager (Toback) who equates Rich's HipHop ambitions with the prospect of gang warfare landing on his lobby. In Rich's wake trail a host of friends, false friends, hangers-on and schemers, seeking sex, glamour and perhaps some sort of liberation, while stirring up betrayal and a murder. It looks like a mess - if one stuffed with incident, issues and intrigue. Hugely improvised, the film bounces between a host of characters, settings, and means and modes of expression; it couches its questions of cross-cultural sharing and borrowing in dialogue, rapped lyrics on the soundtrack, even on a classroom blackboard, as well as in its own magpie compositional style. The tone is intriguing: where does observation (or ogling) end and suggestion or satire begin? Should a film about the vagaries of identity and ethics be so loose itself? At least the cast get a chance to flex themselves: Stiller and Pantoliano especially are great value, and Downey is just uproarious.