Slam

Film

Time Out says

This eschews the clichés of gangsta rap to find a new slant on African-American experience. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Ray Joshua (Williams) is picked up for drug dealing and held in a Washington, DC, penitentiary. There, in a startling scene just on the right side of absurd, he disarms the prison yard muscle with a burst of impromptu verse. Paroled into the eager care of the prison writing tutor (Sohn), Ray is introduced to a new cosmopolitan society where his gifts could flourish, given half a chance. But in the real world, that court date looms. Shot on actual locations in just nine days by Levin, a former documentarist, and improvised within a detailed scene-by-scene outline, this is a perplexing mix of truth and falsity, spontaneity and cliché. Inspired by the slam poetry scene in which Williams has found some fame (a slam is a competitive reading akin to a jazz cutting contest), at its best the movie achieves some of the piercing subjective insight of live performance. Williams is a lucid and passionate witness. Yet Ray is too good to be true, the softest drug pusher in town, and Levin can't resist the lure of shimmering sunsets and the like.

Details

Release details

Duration:
103 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Marc Levin
Screenwriter:
Sonja Sohn, Marc Levin, Bonz Malone, Saul Williams, Richard Stratton
Cast:
Saul Williams
Sonja Sohn
Beau Sia
Bonz Malone
Lawrence Wilson
Rhozier Brown
Mayor Marion Barry Jr