The Lovett Family lives in the battered slum simply known as Brown Sub near Miami airport, where the ways out for teenagers is war (Iraq), music, or death in the streets in their own turf war. Elliot Lovett (23) links the two worlds of war - from Miami to Iraq. Street soldier, Marcus Lovett (20), considered by Elliot to be the most talented rap artist of the family, is murdered by a 16 yr old hitman; and Denzell (14) is left, with his lyrics and demo CDs, to carry the family's desperate hope of getting out. Denzell, who has rapped about his world in 'Rampage', gets to New York to shops his talents, a short visit to Sydney and a return to his real world.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
George Gittoes follows a premise set up by the soldier musician Elliott Lovett, in Gittoes' previous doco, Soundtrack To War: "we get shot at more in Miami than Baghdad". He's following his filmmaking nose, but his ear seems to have been left out, because the Rampage soundtrack is a serious negative for a broad audience. Other than a few snippets of speech and the many rap songs that are subtitled, the subjects are mostly unintelligible. They speak nearly as fast as the rap songs and with such a broad patois that it's hard to understand - made worse by the unfiltered sounds of the streets where this if filmed (on HD, using the camera's basic twin microphones, which would be adequate in a less noisy environment).
Much detail of the film is therefore lost, but the big picture is clear enough: this is a part of Miami across the bridge - both real and metaphorical - that divides the haves and the have nots of Florida's playground city. Gittoes follows the Lovett brothers and at one point confesses to feeling partly responsible for the death of Marcus, simply by being there with a camera. Considering the endless clashes and killings in the delapitaded Brown Sub, he may feel more guilt than is neceassry. Death is a daily dose here, and the fact that rap offers an emotional outlet - as well as a potential escape - is evidenced by its enormous popularity. The film gives us much of this in a raw and disturbing fashion, the subjects seen as angry and frustrated individuals who find expression in the only things they can access: guns, music, drugs and sex.
If you are a rap fan, you may find it a fascinating insight as to where rap and rappers come from in a Miami slum.
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CAST: Documentary featuring the Lovett Family, Swizz Beatz, Fat Joe, DJ Kaleb, DJ Lars
PRODUCER: George Gittoes, Gabrielle Dalton
DIRECTOR: George Gittoes
SCRIPT: Not credited
CINEMATOGRAPHER: George Gittoes
EDITOR: Not credited
MUSIC: Not credited
PRODUCTION DESIGN: n/a
RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Sydney: November 30, 2006