Being a fan of RZA’s work comes with certain qualifiers. His performances can be hit or miss, but there’s no question the man knows how to tell a driven story.
His latest is already on track to platform and streaming releases with Cut Throat City, which centers on the lives of four friends in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. One such individual is Blink (Shameik Moore), newly married and like his three closest friends and fellow residents of the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, struggling to survive in a city depleted of basic living essentials and law enforcement protection.
After failing to land a secure job as an artist, Blink and his friends devise a job that unfortunately involves seeking the counsel of his own brother in law, Lorenzo “Cousin” Bass (T.I.), and the ensuing robbery of a local casino. Tragedy strikes the group and forces them on the run leaving Blink no choice but to leave his family behind until they can make things right, but with Cousin out for blood and a relentless detective (Eiza González) hot on their heels, it’s only a matter of time before Blink and his friends will face ultimate judgment for their actions.
Beneath the film’s face is a multi-layered world of intrigue, vast albeit small enough that virtually everyone is interconnected, and not everything is what it seems. Coping with fatalist ideologies against progressive idealism, Cut Throat City bodes as a story that avoid’s skew hope in casting a spotlight on the prudence of the underlying politics that can take over when the law fails. It’s a chilling image and a message presented with palpable characterization and storytelling, and evocative of similar federal-level crises suffered around the country to this day.
Moore is joined by Kat Graham (Emperor, The Vampire Diaries), Wesley Snipes (Coming 2 America, Dolemite Is My Name), Terrence Howard (Empire, Wayward Pines), and Ethan Hawke (Tesla, First Reformed).
Cut Throat City is available in the U.S. through Well Go USA Entertainment and is streaming on Netflix. The film will soon release on DVD from Dazzler Media beginning February 8.