The Beat

Director: Brandon Sonnier
Screenwriters: Brandon Sonnier

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


Heartbeat. Beat the rap. Walk the beat. Beat up. I'm beat. Beat the odds. Director Brandon Sonnier explores the term from every angle in this intelligent, all-the-way live, and superfresh film, The Beat.

After his brother is brutally stabbed in an alleyway in South Central LA, Flip is dealt an ultimatum by his overbearing father: get a job that brings in a steady paycheck or pursue his passion to become a rapper and live on the street. Overwhelmed by the choice, Flip is thrust into a surreal, bifurcated fantasy world where he lives out both destinies simultaneously, haunted by the tragic circumstances of his brother's death. As his two lifelines unreel, Flip must ultimately confront what gives pulse and meaning to his existence.

Vivid, stylish, and packed with raw musical energy, The Beat is an authentic and artful articulation of urbanity and LA hip-hop, as well as a sly subversion of popular notions of black male identity through music and miscegenation. With a standout performance that heralds a new star in Rahman Jamaal, The Beat marks a slamming directorial debut for its young writer/director, Brandon Sonnier.

— Shari Frilot

Screening Details

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