Official synopsis (nytimes.com): In this gritty independent drama, Eli (Eric Tate) is a car thief who works for Mr. Coles (John Still), the owner of a not entirely legit salvage shop. Eli has begun to have qualms about his career, and one day, after stealing a car from Amanda (Lake Latimer), an attractive young music student, he's wracked with remorse, and when he meets Amanda at an impound yard where she hoped to find her car, he offers her a ride home. A romance begins to blossom between Eli and Amanda, but as Eli tries to tear himself away from his life of crime, another woman named Harper (Lindsey Roberts) tries to draw him back in. Harper is a novice car thief herself who has a deal with Cowboy Earl (T.C. Sharpe), the owner of a seedy massage parlor, for a black-market Cadillac. However, to get the car Earl wants, Harper will have to go through Mr. Coles, and she sees Eli as the perfect go-between. Shot on digital video equipment in Memphis, TN, The Poor and Hungry was the first feature film from writer and director Craig Brewer.
One of the characters in this movie, Amanda, who Eli begins to fall in love with, is a cellist, and I really liked how some of the key scenes had cello music throughout. The entire film was shot in Memphis, and shot digitally, which was unusual for the time period; I've never been to Memphis but it was interesting to get a sense of what the city is like, through this movie.
|Amanda and Eli|
If I had to give The Poor & Hungry a rating I'd probably give it a Maybe and 3/5 stars. However, if you're a fan of black and white movies or indie films - or really just movies that tell an interesting story - you should check it out, and the best part is, Brewer is currently offering a FREE DIGITAL DOWNLOAD of the movie online.
[You can click HERE to view the site and get your free digital copy]
The way the two main characters meet here also reminded me a little bit of Bounce, which came out in 2000 as well, in that Eli would have never have met Amanda if he hadn't stolen her car - they end up meeting at the car impount lot, as she's staring at the husk of her car, after Eli and his crew have stripped it for parts.
*Disclosure: I was given a Blu-ray copy of this film from the director for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.