Straight Out of Brooklyn

Director: Matty Rich
Screenwriters: Matty Rich

Institute History


Straight out of Brooklyn is a realistic drama about the Third World that exists within the first world of America. The film is based on the lives of real people whom the filmmaker actually knows. Filmed on location in Brooklyn's Red Hook housing projects, the film is brutally frank in its depiction of a struggling, black working-class family. It presents very disturbing images and raises hard questions about social, economic and racial clichés, but ultimately the audience is left to draw its own conclusions.

Ray Brown is a black man who blames white people because he cannot provide his family with the things he has spent years in a low-paying job trying to get. Ray takes his anger and frustration out on his wife Frankie (Anne D. Sanders). Despite the savage abuse she takes from her husband, Frankie tries to hold the family together. The Browns' son, Dennis (Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.), searches for a quick way to get his family out of its bleak situation and into the mainstream of the American dream world. He and his friends plot a risky robbery in the belief that this is their way "straight out of Brooklyn." Their plan is destined to have a devastating effect on the Brown family.

Last year's Sundance United States Film Festival was particularly noteworthy because of the splendid filmmaking talent of three very different, black independent filmmakers. This year Rich offers us a strong and challenging social drama marked by a grittily realistic style and an ensemble of exceptionally fine performances. No easy answers are given for the issues raised, but the film's depth of perspective and attention to detail identify a filmmaker we'll be looking to in the future.

— Geoff Gilmore

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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