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Customer Review

on November 30, 2003
I didn't expect to like this movie.
I've seen "Clockers" and "Boyz In the Hood" etc...
I've seen a lot of the Spike Lee "joints".
Now I've seen "Fresh".
I will inevitably rave over it, but the point is that the movie is a true rarity.
The directing and scene editing was seemless. The coverage of the culture was deep, thorough and accurate.
The plot... the plot depicts a twelvish chess player who has been told of his greatest negative influence by his neighbors and the courts; his father who contributes not to society.
The great chess teacher rides his son in forbidden afternoons in the park in an attempt to distill ever better stategy in his game, but the boy is thinking of chess in terms of its implications to reality and designs a living chess-like strategy in his life that is desperate and finely honed.
A great artist wrote this film. A great director executed a fine screenplay.
There is nothing extraneous about this film.
Every scene is essential and delivered purely. There is no jive, editorializing, propagandanizing theme behind it. It is simply the real deal and a brilliant young mind surviving in his tough life by using every single one of the tools in his reach.
Like his teacher/father taught him about chess, he wastes not a single move in his life of depraived circumstances of treachery, illicit people and violence.
In the end it dawned on me the awesome tradegy of the role that the father was left to play in the boy's life vs. the fact that he was the only asset the boy had ever has access to.
As the movie closes you see the boy's first tears and its due to the pervasive lie and fraud that has been perpetrated on him and his world. But the tears are an involuntary response to his father's character. Even in a moment of more of the same callous criticism of him he sees in his father the constant that has always been lacking everywhere.
The tragedy is that it is far too late. The world has indelibly encroached itself and the boy will wear his cold, manly armor till death.
His father's criticism in boyhood must have seemed as harsh as the rest of the world. As though to contradict all the slander toward the father from earliest memory the man becomes a twisted beacon of decency despite the brown paper bag in his hand in the park where the chessplayers go.
I don't review movies. But I just watched this movie at 3am last night by accident. I was just checking the weather before falling into bed. But at noon with my wife today I was moved again and we watched in sympathy, anger and another emotion; I understood for the first time.
My praise to the director, Boaz Yakim.
As soon as I'm done writing this, I intend to find every film he's ever done and order them.
Other movies I like are "JFK", "What's Eating Gilbert Grape", "White Sands", "Hoffa", "The Recruit", "The Rounders" and "Apocalypse Now" and "Glengary Glen-Ross".
I hope these comments encourage someone to see the movie and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Oh... the acting is of true quality.
Brent Fuller.
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