Rated: R for violence. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: October 4, 1995 Released by: Hollywood Pictures
Anthony Curtis (Larenz Tate) only makes one wrong turn, but it's almost like he has a social DNA attributed to him and his path is predetermined. He is condemned from the start. This is a powerful but depressing film.
The Hughes Brothers, who produced and directed the film, don't waste pity on Anthony, they don't make excuses for him. He has an understanding father and a mother who worries about him and a brother who chooses the right moves and heads for college while he sets out for Viet Nam.
As a young teen, he brushes just slightly on the wrong side of the law by carrying numbers for the local bookie. His first love affair is clumsy but produces a daughter. Shortly afterward he is deep in combat in Nam. A solid soldier, he is heroic under fire. Back home there is little work and he lives in a dirty apartment with an unhappy wife. At the point everything collapses. He joins a group who are about to steal "dead presidents" (money) form the Federal Reserve Bank.
The script is molded well and gives the audience a little hope for Anthony, only to crush him and his dreams to the ground when he gives in to the robbery.
It is well acted and passionately presented. Anthony's life is fatally flawed, not so much by his actions but by the atmosphere he grows in. He moves from a smiling teen to a bitterly damaged man in a very short period of time.
The violence is difficult top watch but Anthony's fall is more harsh. His is a potential life that dies at an early age.