Director: Vondie Curtis Hall
Screenwriters: Vondie Curtis Hall

Institute History


Gridlock’d, a reality-based urban comedy, follows the exploits of two performance artists/addicts who achieve true happiness only when they are onstage. The mundaneness of their day-to-day lives leads them down the path of drugs as an escape valve. Once they see the horrors of that lifestyle and try to get out, they realize they are trapped in a bureaucratic nightmare that is as confusing as their own lives.

New Year’s Eve signifies, for many, a new beginning, a time when one can repent past sins and make a fresh start. However, Spoon (Tupac Shakur) and Stretch (Tim Roth) find their dawn of a new age sent into early night by numerous obstacles. After Cookie (Thandie Newton), the third part of their performance group, overdoses and lapses into a coma, they decide their New Year’s resolution is to get clean and give up drugs. This is the moment when their adventure begins. In a Homeric tale that lasts the course of one day, they encounter the adversities that society has constructed to keep certain people in their place.

Spoon and Stretch are just trying to stay alive until they can get treatment, but between the angry drug dealers, the cops who have mistaken them for murderers, and the people with forms and clipboards, this turns into a task of epic proportions. After all of their misfortunes, they resort to a final plea for help by showing up at the hospital with wounds from a shooting and a humorously realized, self-inflicted stabbing.

Roth and Tupac work magically together to create an undeniable chemistry. Tupac’s standout performance in one of his final screen roles adds an ominous undertone to the weight of the film’s message. Actor-turned-director Vondie Curtis Hall makes his directorial debut with a hilarious and often frightening satirical look at “the system” and the pitfalls it has in store for those with even the best intentions.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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