Urban Cinefile
"Us little girls in school uniforms used to go and play tennis and there would be this guy flashing. Everybody else would turn their face but I would wave and say Hello, cold day, isn't it?"  -Jackie Collins on her school days
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Monday June 15, 2020 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



A multi-racial group of teenagers in New York make extra money selling stolen items to their peers: running shoes, CDs. . . nothing major. They all have their own stories, but we focus on Marcus (Brendan Sexton III), a 15 year old white boy whose grandma runs a bar and is his sole family contact, except his mother Ė who is in prison. His fatherís been dead 10 years. Marcusís 15
th birthday party has to go on without her: she couldnít get out as she said she might. He meets Melena (Isidra Vega) a pretty schoolgirl, and somewhat of a captive to her angst ridden father. Her motherís gone. She yearns for Alaska, where she has family. They form a bond that strengthens when they discover the truth about their fathers. In the meantime, Marcusí team want to move up to car theft, and Marcus resists. They do, however, burgle a home, stealing valuables Ė and a gun. After a confrontation with Melenaís father , Marcus elopes with Melena. But hanging over him is the fearful consequence of stealing the gun, leading to a terrible complication.

"First of all, donít be confused about Morgan J. Freeman. The J is to let us know he isnít the black actor turned director. This Morgan Freeman has directed a number of independent films before, including last yearís Boom, and three or four others. Itís his first time, though as the scriptwriter and also as one of the producers. But to the film: set in New York, but a rarely seen aspect of it, Hurricane Streets concerns a multi-ethnic group of teenagers. They make money through petty theft and meet up in a bunker beside the river, joshing each other. The focus is on Marcus (Brendan Sexton jnr), a 15 year old whose mum is in prison, but not for what Marcus thinks. His dad has died, but not how Marcus has been told. By the time he discovers the truth about his folks, all sorts of things have happened to him, over the two days that the film covers. He has resisted his little gangís urges to steal a car, escalating their criminal activity to a point beyond which he doesnít wish to go, and he has met a girl, Melena (Isidra Vega), whose sole parent father has violent tendencies. When tragedy strikes, as it surely will when fate is tempted, the young neo-lovers run. All of this is told with fluency, energy and cinematic prowess, and there is much more to the emotional journey than the surface plot. Thatís why itís such a satisfying film; and the hung ending should make us all consider our own response in the extraordinary situation in which Marcus finds himself. Freeman has a lot to say in this film, about human nature, about the grey areas of morality and about the ongoing, devastating effects of parental abuse."
Andrew L. Urban

"Hurricane Streets is a film with genuine heart. It is lively, spirited and fresh, offering wonderful naturalistic performances from its young talented cast. Morgan J. Freemanís screenplay is beautifully structured with keen observation of not only the characters, but the way they relate to each other. Itís a poignant story about adolescents who are heading in the wrong direction; the setting, circumstances and events that take place are very real. Brendan Sexton Jr as Marcus has distinctive style and presence: he gives a superb, complex performance and there is genuine screen magic in his relationship with Melena (Isidra Vega is terrific). All the kids in the group are artfully drawn and played; the fat kid stuffing his face with chips perhaps a good example. This is a perceptive film with a lot of soul. It gives a powerful glimpse into the world of kids with problems, and how their problems can bond them together."
Louise Keller

"Hurricane Streets won a swag of awards at last yearís Sundance Film Festival, all well deserved. At the heart of this truthful and atypical coming-of-age story is the astonishing work of young actor Brendan Sexton III . Here is a star in the making, a hypnotic and charismatic presence who gives Marcus depth and eloquence, showing the characterís dichotomy as he steals with his friends and finds love with the beautiful Melena, hauntingly played by newcomer Isidra Vega. So many films that deal with the pangs of adolescence, do so in a cliched, repetitive fashion, while Hurricane presents the problems faced by urban youth, with a painstaking and gritty honesty. Thereís no attempt at sentimentalising here, yet thereís great warmth and humanity as we see so many varied sides of this collection of kids. Beautifully realised by writer/director Morgan J. Freeman, and superbly shot in New York, Hurricane Streets is a film about teenagers dealt with in an unashamedly honest and at times poetic fashion. Itís a film not to be missed."
Paul Fischer

Email this article


Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0



CAST: Brendan Sexton jnr, Shawn Elliott, Josť Zuniga, David Roland Frank, Carlo Alban, Antoine McLean, Mtume Gant, Lynn Cohen, Edie Falco, Heather Matarazzo, Damian Corrente, David Moscow, L.M. Kit Carson, Isidra Vega

PRODUCERS: Morgan J. Freeman, Gill Holland, Galt Neiderhoffer

DIRECTOR: Morgan J. Freeman

SCRIPT: Morgan J. Freeman


EDITOR: Sabine Hoffman


RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 19, 1998

AWARDS: Sundance Film Festival 1996; Audience Award Best Director, Best Cinematography

© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020