Boyz and the Hood
Hood, the first movie from director John Singleton, Is an Intriguing and insightful look into the machinations of black culture, dealing particularly with South Central Los Angeles, California during both the mid 1 and early 1990’s. Rather than focusing on one aspect of the black experience in the inner city, the film instead splits Its narrative to follow the Intertwining lives of three young, black men as they mature and adapt to the unique challenges of their surroundings. Singleton’s Los
Angeles Is one of open and constant violence, a malignant, ever-present police force, and a series of winding, unclear, and potentially treacherous paths through which its inhabitants must maneuver. The film’s message that all black people must unify if they hope to end the fierce cycle of bloodshed perpetuated on them by corrupt external forces. Roughly the first fourth of Boyz N the Hood takes place during Tores childhood In 1984. Several key actions during this period will be met with analogous moments later on In the film.
Firstly, the triangular relationship between Tr©, Ricky, and Dough boy is established. Specifically, Terre is set up as a neutral party between Ricky and Dough boy. The scene displays this Idea of Tr© as being neutral. One of the first shots of the three together frames Tr© in the foreground, while Ricky and Dough boy fight behind him. This scene also parallels a scene near the climax of the film, where Dough boy and Ricky are fighting, and Tr© is attempting to break them up. secondly, personality traits of the three principle characters are also created.
Ricky Is constantly seen carrying a football, foreshadowing how deeply he will come to emend on the sport as a teenager. After Ricky’s ball is stolen, Dough boy attacks an older boy in an attempt to retrieve It and Is beaten In the process. This Is exemplary of teenage Dough boys often reactionary and violent behavior, as well as it’s equally violent consequences. Boyz N the Hood makes great use of archetypal characters to further relate its story to that of the real world. Ricky Is, In many ways, the prototypical, All-American boy.
Throughout the film he is consistently seen either holding a football, wearing a football Jersey. r watching football on TV. He Is also easily influenced. to join the Army shortly after seeing a recruiting commercial on TV. Dough boy is the quintessential vision of the inner city gangster, He Is aggressive, engages in criminal acts of violence, drinks forties of malt liquor, and shows distrust and hatred towards authority figures. Finally, Tr© is a prime example of the ambitious, responsible advocate of change. In several ways he is a middle ground between the extremes of Ricky and Dough boy.
Many of Tr©’s personality traits, such as his views on the Army, re Instilled In him by Furious, his father. This Is very Important because It Is the only relationship of its kind in the film, and is therefore presented to the audience as the definitive model of the father/son relationship. The most Jarring way in which Singleton expresses the film’s message is through the use of signs, posters, and on screen text as visual metaphors. The first notable text visible on screen is the movie’s title, which charges at the screen, mirroring the films confrontational nature.
This Is Immediately followed by two quotes: “One out of will die at the hands of another Black male. ” These quotes set the focus of the movie as dealing with the harsh realities of black-on-black crime. The last image of the film is a black screen featuring the movie’s title, underneath the title the phrase “Increase the Peace” appears, remaining on screen after the title fades. The film begins by stating a problem, and concludes with a suggestion on how to start moving towards a solution. In conclusion, Boys N the Hood effectively confronts numerous societal difficulties aced by the black community.
Singleton’s message of promoting unity in the face of powerful internal and external opposition is evident in every aspect of the film. The use of techniques such as multi-story narrative, creating archetypal characters through cultural differences, and the use of signs and posters as visual metaphors all increase the effectiveness of this message. This film stands as not only a brilliant piece of film making, but also a perceptive social commentary that will culturally significant for many years to come.