Belly

on November 06, 1998 by Dwayne E. Leslie
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Music video producer/director Hype Williams makes an impressive feature film debut as the scripter and helmer of this urban drama about best friends Tommy (Earl "DMX" Simmons) and Sincere (Nasir "Nas" Jones) who start robbing clubs to make some quick cash. Tommy, the more aggressive of the two, wants a bigger payoff, so they segue into selling drugs. After a confrontation with his wife (Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins), Sincere wants out. But Tommy is in too deep; before he knows it, bodies start to pile up and he goes on the run. Friendships and relationships are put to the test when the ill-gotten gains evoke greed, power-trips, jealousy, paranoia and betrayal.
Williams perceptively examines the criminal career path and how it impacts the lives of all those involved. Though sometimes undermined by an assaulting visual style, "Belly" nicely showcases some new acting talent crossing over from the music world, and conveys its message effectively without being didactic. Starring Earl "DMX" Simmons, Nasir "Nas" Jones, Taral Hicks, Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Clifford "Method Man" Smith. Directed and written by Hype Williams. Produced by Ron Rotholz, Hype Williams, Robert Salerno and Larry Meistrich. An Artisan release. Drama. Rated R for strong violence, language, sexuality and drug use. Running time: 95 min.
Tags: urban, African-American, crime, thieves, drugs, in too deep, murder, greed, jealousy, paranoia, criminal, DMX, Nas, Taral Hicks, T-Boz, Tionne Watkins, Method Man, Clifford Smith, Hype Williams
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