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58 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest to goodness Masterpiece!
Seldom do you find a film that makes you feel as close to the characters as this one does. If I could put into words the range of emotion you will feel when viewing this series, you would purchase this set without hesitation.
Though it is true that this is not for everyone, those who can deal with the harshest realities of life will be blown away by the gritty...
Published on July 31, 2003 by Phil T. Miller

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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational film
This is a thought provoking, inspirational movie yet not for the faint of heart. If you're coming off the needle I wouldn't watch it if I were you. If you have a neighborhood like this one you'll get some insight on what's going on with the people within it. I'm glad I bought the mini-series yet I really wish it had more documentary material within.
Published on June 1, 2009 by Sally L. Chambers


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58 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest to goodness Masterpiece!, July 31, 2003
By 
Phil T. Miller "Phil" (Midland, MI United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Corner (DVD)
Seldom do you find a film that makes you feel as close to the characters as this one does. If I could put into words the range of emotion you will feel when viewing this series, you would purchase this set without hesitation.
Though it is true that this is not for everyone, those who can deal with the harshest realities of life will be blown away by the gritty "in your face" approach of this Mini-Series. You will find yourself hoping with all your heart that Gary or Fran will "straighten up" and get it together, only to realize that they are not pillars of strength and are sometimes doomed to fail, even before they start. The most disappointing thing about the series is that it ends. As you progress through the episodes you will gradually begin to dread the inevitable end, and it will leave you hungry for more.
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87 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HBO Has it Together -- THE CORNER is a Masterpiece, October 8, 2006
By 
Birdman (Minnetonka, MN USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Corner (DVD)
Before viewing this miniseries, I had only read the book (of the same name) by David Simon and Edward Burns published in 1997. Still, the world of decaying neighborhoods, the havoc of street drugs and hopelessness among the disadvantaged has deepened in the Bush era. It took an ingenious director like Charles Dutton to recount one family's troubled history gripping miniseries that doesn't miss a beat. And he's selected a cast of relative unknowns who assume their roles with dead-on realism

The film follows a year in the life of one impoverished family against the backdrop of their neighborhood during the 1990's a drug-ridden quarter-mile from Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Dutton, like Simon and Burns, dwells on the humanity of his cxharacters and the universal themes of their day-to-day struggles. You needn't have been an alcoholic or drug addict to enter the hearts of these people or understand how they swing between hope and hopelessness.

As political commentary, THE CORNER couldn't be more timely, especially in its grasp of urban education, inner city commmunties, underage pareenthood and America's Dickensian juvenile justice system. Viewing what these potentially gifted people endure, viewers may ask how many good people we discard because of our cultural myopia, institutional racism and apathy.

The core performance here is T.K. Dutton's "Gary" -- the father of his broken family. The ways in which he struggles to overcome present shame in light of past success is something most of us will recognize -- race aside -- if not today, then tomorrow.

There is no score to speak of except for Corey Harris's blues track which occurs on splash screens and during the credits for each of six episodes. Dutton frames each episode with interviews of different principal characters to evoke the feel of a documentary, and he more than succeeds.

Dutton understands the lives of these characters because he grew up in their neighnorhood and experienced first-hand the dissolution of life on these corners -- where red tops and spider bags are the basis of life and death. He knows that the pain of addiction is potent, but not always as devastating as the cruelties of the real world "clean."

Every facet of this production suggests HBO should rebroadcast THE CORNER on its tenth anniversary. You wil laugh, weep, wince and cheer; and when it's over, you will hate to leave these good people.

While there are segments that are bleak, Dutton didn't intend to shock. He wanted to remind us that these men and women are fully human, and that --like Gary-- we have the potential to stumble, too. We might be doomed to the Corner but for the grace of God.

Five glowing stars for the DVD set -- and the book on which it's based.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! It's about time., June 18, 2003
This review is from: The Corner (DVD)
Like others reviewing this film I have been waiting a long time for this to be released and to have it come out on dvd is a real treat.This is the best depiction of in the hood drug addiction I have ever seen.It's real and not commercialized like Hollywood urban films are.It's not about gangs and thugs shooting each other up. It's about going against the odds and making the best out of the life that was given to us.I see this as an important document that makes you think and feel what it is like to be bound by addiction in more ways than one.Masterfully directed, there's something here for everyone to relate to.You don't have to be Black,you don't have to live in the hood, being human is enough to understand everything that goes on in this film.Very entertaining.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful-Brutal-Incredible-A Must For All Teens, September 10, 2005
By 
Shawn Severse "qyats" (honolulu, hi United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Corner (DVD)
As a certified Substance abuse counselor, I show THE CORNER once a year to the 70+ teenagers that I work with. In the three years I've been showing it I have not had a single teen who wasn't moved by and impressed with it. It's the only film i show that they want to see over and over again.

As a recovering addict I can attest to the film's accuracy. It's gritty, it's painful, it's the reality of many inner city neighborhoods and the real end result to addiction.

As a tool for working with substance using teens, this film provides a plethora of topics to process and discuss.

I cannot speak too highly of it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can I Give it 10 Stars?, January 13, 2006
By 
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This review is from: The Corner (DVD)
I always look to HBO to deliver the finest in TV drama. Sometimes HBO misses, but most of the time, they are right on the money.

When "The Corner" debuted a few years ago, it came around with little fan fair, so much so, I only discovered it by channel surfing one day (A real crime, if you asked me). But once I started watching, I could not stop. As the series came to an end, I eagerly awaited for all the awards shows to herald this monumental piece of work. There is no doubt that Charles S. Dutton deserved his Emmy. T.K. Carter and Khandi Alexander should have been received theirs too. The whole cast was on point. They all deserved praise. And Toy Connor (played DeAndre's girlfriend), well, all I can say is you blew me away...

Since BET is now carrying the series, my interest in the series has been sparked. So instead of watching it with commercial interuptions and blotted out scenes, I decided to purchase the DVD and share it with my teenage son.

Every now and then a movie/series comes along that rocks your very foundation with it's truth, validity and raw beauty. Well "The Corner" is one of those. It has spawned one of the best acclaimed series on HBO "The Wire" (another of my favorites). Bravo Mr. Dutton, Ms. ALexander and Mr. Carter. Bravo...
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!, February 27, 2007
By 
This review is from: The Corner (DVD)
There's a scene right at the end of episode three titled "Fran's Blues", where Charles S. Dutton is talking to Baltimore Police Officer Robert Brown (played by Brian O'Neill). Officer Brown says he's sad about how the neighbourhood has changed over the years due to drugs. "The rot started in the projects," Brown says, and then it "Just kept creeping uphill." Dutton asks Brown if he ever feels like he's wasting his time, given the number of people the city locks up every year only a fraction of who get "prison time". Brown doesn't seem to think so, replying that there are still good people in the neighbourhood, "Church people, working people", who want to see the drug scourge end. Duttom then asks Brown if he thinks the war on drugs will ever be won? There's a long pause. The officer looks everywhere but at the camera and, after what seems like an age, finally says: "No comment."

Fans of "The Wire" (of which this series is a very close relation) will also recall a scene where it's implied by one of the characters that the war on drugs isn't being fought with any conviction because if it was and was eventually won, well, then local politicians wouldn't have anything to campaign about, would they? And then let's not forget the very strong belief among social commentators and observers both black and white, that narcotic drugs were brought into the black community by the CIA to ensure black folk remained a permanent underclass. Why do I bring all this up? I bring it all this up because these are the issues that came up for me while watching this powerful series. More than anything else, I came away feeling amazed that we live in a society that has allowed such incredible suffering to go on, on such a massive scale, for so long.

The six-part series is very cleverly directed by Charles S. Dutton to look like it was part documentary and part drama with skilfully added in flashbacks. In just six one-hour episodes it explores a wide range of social issues such as urban deprivation, poverty, family breakdown and teenage pregnancy but the focus is really the psychology of drug addiction and the despair of people caught up in it, particularly the McCullough family: Dad Gary (played by T.K. Carter), Mom Fran (played by Khandi Alexander) and two sons DeAndre and DeRodd (played by Sean Nelson and Sylvester Lee Kirk respectively). The series poses a lot of interesting and crucial questions about the so-called war on drugs that so far, I haven't heard any real-life politicians seriously address. Ever.

The series is from the same brains behind similarly Baltimore-focused shows as "Homicide: Life on the Street" and of course "The Wire". I know a couple of Baltimore residents personally and while all fans of these shows, they do have mixed feelings about them. I can understand why. Other shows supposedly based in other cities like New York's "Law & Order", Los Angeles' "The Shield" or Las Vegas' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" are all very well produced, directed and acted, (not to mention popular world-wide), but they are also very obviously works of fiction. This crop of shows on the other hand are based on non-fiction books. "The Corner" is based on "The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood", a non-fiction book by David Simon and Edward Burns and "The Wire", though largely written by Simon and Burns, is based on the non-fiction book "The Wire: Truth Be Told" by Rafael Alvarez. Even "Homicide" was based on a non-fiction book. They are thus so very close to the truth of what life is like on the streets of Baltimore. Or so I'm told. I can understand how that could make some people uncomfortable. Almost like they and their city are being put under a microscope.

In any event, one question that never seems to get answered via any of these shows and always seems to get glossed over is why these people get into drugs in the first place. We're told that Fran lost her sister and turned to drugs to ease the pain but no more is said on the subject. Personally, I'd have liked to find out what it was about Fran or any of the other drug addicts in the series and/or what it was about their lives that made drugs so attractive an option as an escape?

Also, these drugs are not manufactured on the streets of Baltimore so how do they get there? And where do they come from? I feel until we get shows that begin to focus on some of the root causes of the world's drug epidemic today, all we'll ever get is very entertaining shows that mainly serve to make us voyeurs on other people's tragic sadness.

But the emphasis is definitely on 'very entertaining'. I watched the entire series over two days, three episodes a sitting and then watched them all over again. As sad as the stories are, they were fun to watch. It was so much fun to see many of the same actors from the current season of The Wire on this too, people like Lance Reddick, Maria Broom, Clarke Peters, Reg E. Cathey; all incredibly versatile and talented artistes. Finally, it was also great to see (at the end of the final episode) the real-life people behind the story and find out how they felt about being portrayed on film in this way. They didn't seem to mind and the real Fran Boyd expressed the hope that seeing how bad her life on drugs was, might encourage other drug addicts to get help.

I hope so too.

I know this is long-winded and may seem more like an essay than a review of a DVD but I just don't think it's enough to review something this significant with generic praise like "Great work by Charles S. Dutton!" (Even though it is) or "T.K. Carter's performance was stunning!" (Even though it was) or "Sean Nelson was great!" (Even though he was) or "Khandi Alexander shines!" (Even though she does). In my view, this winner of 3 Emmys is a body of work that is much greater than the sum of its parts, as fantastic as those parts are. This series makes me think and it makes me wonder. Not many TV series can do that.

But then, this isn't TV. It's HBO.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb. Glad it's finally released, May 22, 2003
This review is from: The Corner (DVD)
Charles Dutton is so incredibly talented and you get to see how great this man is with this miniseries. I love this series and although I did tape the series, I can't wait to run out and buy it. Yippeee!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars my opinion, June 2, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Corner (DVD)
First of all, I am glad that they are bringing this out finally on dvd , with all of the other stuff hbo does coming out it amazes me that this project took so long to come..being that it won so many awards..after seeing the series I felt that this was the most realistic work of art depicting urban life. Growing up in liberty city fl. and having a brother selling then later becoming hooked on drugs, I really felt connected to the characters and knew what they were going through....this dvd is highly recommedable...and should be shown to anyone who thinks that selling and using drugs is just a fad..
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent portrayal of an excellent book!, October 6, 2004
By 
This review is from: The Corner (DVD)
I have to preface this review by saying that the book this series is based on is one of my all-time favorites and I usually don't expect much out of movies based on books. However, this is one rare example of a miniseries that stayed very true to the book it is based on and which portrays the events as they actually occurred. There was only one inconsistency I noticed and that was when Gary McCullough stole some money from Andre. In the book, Fran was the one who actually stole from her son (several times).

The look and feel of "The Corner" is very gritty and raw and will leave some viewers feeling uneasy but I am glad that they didn't try to glamorize what is anything but glamourous. I applaud those in charge of the makeup...they did a great job making the skin lesions and open sores of the addicts look realistic. I thought the actors all portrayed their respective characters extremely well. I was particularly impressed with Clarke Peters and TK Carter's performances (as Fat Curt and Gary). They both did a fantastic job at showing us not every addict fits the stereotype of a "low-down dirty dope fiend" and that they still have the capacity to be intelligent, caring people with aspirations just like everyone else. Charles S. Dutton was the perfect person for the role of director, as he is a Baltimore native and also a former inmate. I was impressed that there were no lame/cheesy attempts to earn the audience's sympathy, as we often see directors do with other films in this genre. The story was presented as true to the real-life events as possible without over-dramatization.

Be sure to pay attention to the final scene when Charles Dutton interviews the real Fran and Andre. The happiness you will feel for Fran's success will be quickly overshadowed by the sadness at Andre's outcome. I wish there was some way to find out how he is doing today and if he's still on the corner.

If you enjoy this miniseries, I highly recommend that you read the book - it goes into greater depth and will permanently change the way you view inner-city blight. You may also want to check out "Homicide: Life on the Streets", a top-rated police drama based on another of Simon's books, as well as Simon's HBO series "The Wire" which includes several of the actors from "The Corner".
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This will leave you emotionally drained and speechless., May 9, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Corner (DVD)
I accidently turned to this miniseries while channel surfing and was immediately hooked on this riveting insight of the effects of drug abuse on not only the addict but the family as well the neighborhood. I watched the miniseries time and time again most recently with my son and nephew they were shocked what a small amount of dope could do to a person and the people who surround them. It provides the viewer with not only what we see or read about in the evening news, but a first hand look of the people involved. You really run the gambit of emotions in viewing this miniseries from despair to pride and then hope. This should be required viewing for schoolage children to show what "alittle dab will do"! Too bad the actors and the series did not receive the accolades that they deserve. Brillant piece of work.
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The Corner
The Corner by Charles S. Dutton (DVD - 2014)
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