The Mob’s Reel has been gracious enough to host Mobster, Curtis Morgan's TIFF 2017 review. As an actor and film buff, Curtis braved this years red carpet to bring you spoiler-free reviews on the 10 films he saw at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.

REVIEW

Joseph Kahn [Detention, Torque, about 1000 pop music videos including Aaliyah’s “If Your Girl Only Knew”, Britney Spears’ “Toxic”, Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name” and most recently, (the most viewed video on YouTube) Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do”] is a man who knows how to shoot musical content like nobody else.  His skill in using video to elevate audio is evident in the opening sequence of Bodied.  His creative camera placement and daring movements put you in the center of a world that very few are brave enough to venture.  A world so crazy, that it almost seems fictional.  But this movie’s layers dance within the truth that Underground Rap Battles are a REAL part of Hip Hop sub-culture.

This film captures the essence of Battle Rap in many different ways.  By, cleverly, putting the viewer in the shoes of a charismatic, learned, yet completely out of place newcomer, it allows you to get inside of it and feel what these artists do, not just the glorifying moments, but what it really feels like to put yourself out there for ridicule and judgement.  It is in these well-orchestrated moments that the viewer relates the most to the main characters, and when they overcome, that catharsis leaves you wanting more.  The subject matter of this movie is made accessible early on as the main character often has to take the time to explain the essence and lingo of Battle Rap to his often annoyed and uneducated even more out-of-place girlfriend, and in doing so, brings in those members of the audience who may have never seen 8 Mile or never listened to real hip hop.

By doing this, Khan covers the bases completely, making it hard for anyone viewing it to not understand what is happening, while simultaneously appealing to lifelong battle rap fans.  This movie should’ve failed.  For the same reason that integrated learning (basic, advanced classes) tends to leave some people out.  But it doesn’t, because it considers everyone in the room at every turn.  That’s probably because Khan is not an underground hip hop lyricist, but Bodied’s writer (Alex Larson — the first “King of The Dot” — Toronto’s world-renowned underground MC Battle Competition) and producer (Eminem) are.

The diverse casting accurately sends the message that this movie is for everyone.  Everyone is included, and that’s not to say that race is not addressed in the movie.  As a matter of fact, they deal with it head on, but mainly the stereotypes, and almost exclusively in the battle raps and in an honest way.  And they go IN, nothing is sacred, but when the battle is over, something interesting happens, I won’t spoil it for you.  Whether you like Hip Hop or not, if you are fan of the clever use of the English Language (and really, who isn’t), you will love Bodied.

Bodied gets 4.5/5 stars.

Bodied -- 10 Movies in 10 Days: TIFF 2017 Review
Watch It:
  • 5 Stars: Incredible
  • 4 Stars: Great
  • 3 Stars: Good
Skip It:
  • 2 Stars: Not Worth It
  • 1 Star: Oh God No
  • Zero: Kill/Bury It
4.5

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