The directorial debut from Morgan J Freeman (not that Morgan Freeman) unfolds during one long, hot summer in Manhattan's East Village, and focuses on Marcus (Sexton), a 15-year-old boy who spends most of his time hanging out with friends and indulging in bouts of petty thieving.
Our asthmatic hero then meets and falls in love with Melena (Vega); naturally her tyrannical father Paco (Elliot) forbids their relationship, so the young lovers decide to make a break for freedom. But first Marcus needs to lay his hands on some cash, which inevitably leads to more criminal behaviour.
This clichéd coming-of-age-yarn somehow netted three awards, including one for best film at the '97 Sundance Film Festival. Admittedly, the performances of the teenage cast are solidly convincing, yet the storyline, with its reliance on melodramatic contrivances, becomes increasingly risible. It may share a similar milieu, but it only has a fraction of the dramatic power of Larry Clark's kids.
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