Street Fight (2005)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C Documentary: B+
the best looks at the political system in America and its more corrupt side is
Marshall Curry’s Street Fight (2005),
showing the 2002 campaign between the 32-year-old Yale graduate Cory Booker and
the longtime four-term mayor Sharp James.
Both men are African American, though Booker has a white parent as
well. The camera follows Booker as he
tries to sincerely reach out and make changes for the better. However, he soon learns that the reason why
change has been slow is because the fix is in.
does not intend to let him even compete, pulls every dirty trick in the book
and we soon discover (remarkably before Booker (or maybe the director) realizes
it that James’ has a political machine that knows it can get away with almost
anything and often does. The closer
election day gets, the worse it gets, including no strategy for responding to
attacks about being an educated out-of-touch elite, that being part white made
him “the other” and that he was a puppet of powered interest. This includes amazingly blatant anti-Semitism
and all kinds of plants, including James exploiting and using children. Still, Booker amazingly does not realize it.
powerful 81 minutes did not cause a federal investigation is stunning as what
we watch unfold redefines and ups the idea of “black on black” violence in
unexpected ways. Saddest of all is
watching Booker left out there to twist in the wind with a staff of supporters
who are too nice, clueless about the dirty tricks (let alone how to respond to
them) and shows that institutionalized racism allows this to go unpunished in a
way that should be a red alert to us all.
After all, if this goes unpunished and too few people have heard about
this, what about all the stories that say silenced and are never recorded?
X 1 image was shot on low-def digital video during the 2002 campaign and shows
its limits, but still looks very good and consistent for a shoot with detail issues. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is not bad
throughout considering this was all taped as it was happening, with added clips
editing in (picture and sound) nicely.
The only extra is a short (about 12 minutes) but informative interview
with Curry that literally answers many questions about his approach. There was more room for extras and too bad
there was not an extensive update, but the story of Street Fight is far from over and you should see this excellent
documentary ASAP. It is one of the best
of the current cycle of political docs that is mandatory viewing in a sea of so
- Nicholas Sheffo