Gridlock’d is
yet another attitude film, this one by Vondie Curtis Hall and starring the late
Tupac Shakur and Tim Roth. They play a couple of junkie musicians in Detroit
vaguely trying to
(i.e. the habit) after Tupac’s
girlfriend, played by Thandie Newton, overdoses one New
Year’s Eve. They take the girl,
Cookie, to the hospital and encounter the first of many roadblocks put in their
way by bureaucrats and paper pushers. At the same time the two buddies, called
Stretch (Roth) and Spoon (Shakur) are on the run from a couple of bad dudes
trying to kill them. The director himself plays Mr Big, one D Repper, and his
henchman is played by Tom Towles. They have many jolly adventures dodging these
two and the police at the same time they are battling the bureaucracy to get
into rehab. There is also a blind man with a dog called Nixon who flips out in
the welfare offcie.

This leads me to believe that the film is supposed to be a comedy, but the
prevailing humor is not of the yuk yuk kind but of the melancholic, fashionable,
ghetto-cool kind which is obviously designed to showcase Tupac as movie star as
well as rapper. The rap enters into the picture only at the end, though all the
way through the idea of both Spoon,
Tupac’s character, and Cookie being
is made much of.
you understand meaning not a person who writes poetry but one who is most
generously endowed with attitude.There is some poetry it is true—a few
inarticulate banalities chanted to a jazzy background on keyboard and bass with
cigarette obligato. “The concept of
time has us all f***ed,” we are told,
or “Life is a traffic

I suppose there must be people, like Suze in SubUrbia, who consider it
time well spent to listen to such stuff, so long as they can watch cool,
attractive people being cool and attractive at the same time. I am not one of
them. But even if you are a fan of the poetry of unrestraint and inarticulacy;
even if you find a weird beauty in sentences in which every third word is one
that an ever-diminishing number of uptight honkies consider obscenities, you may
well find little to like here.

There is one scene in which Tim Roth bursts out with a tirade against the
arrogance of little office holders in the language of lower middle class white
angst: “This f***ing
country’s falling
apart,” he says, and especially in the
case of “these people who have
government jobs. My tax dollars are paying your f***ing
wages!” he cries out.
your boss.” But one
can’t be quite sure that the humor
(mild as it is) of this anger, coming from a perpetually hard-up junkie who
presumably pays no taxes and is seeking to receive benefits from those who do,
is even intended. In another scene there is some amusement to be had out of
Spoon’s asking Stretch to stab him
with a pen knife so that they can go to the hospital for treatment. But
that’s about it.

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