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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Guilty By Association
Guilty By Association
Artisan // R // July 22, 2003
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Shannon Nutt | posted August 1, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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THE MOVIE

I suppose the makers of Guilty By Association wanted to make a movie that would both appeal to young black Americans and still be educational – but they fail to do either. About the only thing that the movie seems to get right is the slang or street language that gangs and drug dealers use – and that's just a guess on my part since I've never been involved in that type of lifestyle.

The real crime that Guilty By Association commits is the misuse of one of America's finest actors: Morgan Freeman. Despite his billing on the box cover, Freeman doesn't show up until 50 minutes into the movie…and the film's only about 75 minutes long! I didn't keep track, but I'm willing to bet that Freeman has less than 50 words of dialogue and has less than 5 minutes of screen time.

Freeman's absence wouldn't be so disturbing had there actually been a story to follow. The movie tells a quite simplistic plot about drug dealers who (as usual in these kinds of dramas) get in over their heads and wind up having to face the consequences of their actions (when a small child who is the daughter of one of the drug dealer's girlfriends is accidentally killed).

But the big problem here is that the street lingo between the characters is so hard to comprehend that I almost wished there were subtitles translating the slang. Half the time I truly was lost as to what the characters were talking about. But that's not even the least of the film's problems. The acting here is quite simply atrocious. Not just soap opera bad, but porno bad! I could probably pull a dozen people off the street and get better acting than what is seen in this movie.

Why Freeman agreed to be in this movie is anyone's guess. Perhaps he got a nice juicy paycheck for a day's work; perhaps he was a friend of someone on the crew and was doing them a favor; or perhaps he thought the final product would be better than it was. Whatever the reason, rest assured Freeman won't be putting this one at the top of his resume.

THE EXTRAS

Video:
The movie was apparently shot on video and is presented full frame. Even though it looks like the movie was shot with high-definition video, there are a lot of problems with the picture, including flecks, grain, pixilation and even the occasional streak. All this appears to be from the source material rather than the transfer, and without going into too much further detail about the way the movie looks, let's just say that the director didn't fare much better than the actors in the making of this movie.

Audio:
Viewers will have the option of watching the movie in either 5.1 or 2.0 Dolby. The 5.1 track is serviceable – nothing to get excited about, but far better than any of the other aspects of this DVD. For the record, and just so you know your eyes aren't deceiving you, there are a few scenes in the movie where the video and the audio aren't properly in sync. It appears that a lot of the audio was dubbed by the actors after the filming, and it's really apparent in some scenes, and embarrassing (as I just pointed out) in a few others!

Extras:
To add insult to injury, the only extras Artisan has included on this release are the Trailer for this movie, plus a Sneak Peaks section which contains three trailers for other movies – all which look about as equally as poor as Guilty By Association.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Skip this one. Better yet, avoid it at all costs. I love Morgan Freeman as much as the next movie fan, but this one isn't worth your money just to see Mr. Freeman in 5 minutes of screen time. I'd rather watch Dreamcatcher 100 more times than give Guilty By Association a second viewing.
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