Writer/director Morgan J. Freeman’s (not the actor) earnest debut and 1997 Sundance Award Winner wasn’t half bad, although it can’t be good when the first thing to pop into your head when the lights come up is, “Is that how it ends?”
Fifteen year-old Marcus (an engaging Brendan Sexton III), is a troubled but basically decent NYC truant who lives with his grandma ’cause mom’s in jail, chills with his buds, shoplifts requested merchandise for neighborhood kids, and dreams of returning to the enchanted land of his birth; New Mexico.
While three of his pals are harmless, the fourth, Chip, careens down the wrong road, hanging out with two Miami hoods and agitating for a step “up” from petty thievery to the big leagues: auto theft and robbery.
Marcus avoids these hazards for awhile, thanks in part to a blossoming romance with Melena (a winsome Isidra Vega.) Soon, however, he becomes accidentally entangled in deadlier circumstances than even Chip imagined which threaten to destroy his promising life before it even gets started.
Freeman makes us care about these tough, slang-spoutin’ punks, which is impressive. It’s also frustrating because “Hurricane Streets” is ultimately a cinematic cul-de-sac with neither a particlarly happy nor tragic ending. An intentional metaphor, no doubt, for the ambivalence of street life. But I still felt closure-interruptus when the lights came up, as if I, too, had become trapped forever within the eyes of this hurricane.