: : : Black & White


James Toback's portrait of white and black culture mixing it up on the streets of Manhattan is like two films colliding. In the center of the swirl are a group of upper-class white teens (led by Elijah Wood and pop singer Bijou Phillips) who appropriate hip-hop culture to rebel against their affluent lifestyle, and a posse of gangstas and drug dealers (led by rap producer Oli "Power" Grant) who are themselves trying to get off the streets and into the business culture through their music. Aging indie filmmaker Toback has long shown an interest in character contradictions and quirks. Here the dynamic works: The two groups are genuinely curious about one another and mix with a cautious but untroubled ease. Less successful is the contrived drama that orbits this cultural mix but never quite meshes--such as Ben Stiller as a self-loathing New York cop who blackmails college basketball star Allan Houston into betraying his boyhood buddy turned street criminal.

Toback spices his Altmanesque style of restless camera work and impressionistic intercutting with attitude, nervous energy, and in-your-face sex. There's an interesting story to be told here, but the provocative cultural mix gets lost in the self-conscious melodrama and only periodically roars to life, notably in the edgy, unpredictable scenes with Mike Tyson (an inspired bit of casting that works marvelously). Also featured are rapper Raekwon, supermodel Claudia Schiffer, Brooke Shields, and Robert Downey Jr. --Sean Axmaker

DVD Features

  • 'Keeping It Reel' Video Diary Shot
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Alternate Take
  • 2 Music Videos
  • Feature Length Commentary By Director
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Filmographies


Scott CaanScotty
Robert Downey Jr.Terry Donager
Stacy EdwardsSheila King
Allan HoustonDean Carter
Gaby HoffmannRaven
Kidada JonesJesse
Jared LetoCasey
Marla MaplesMuffy
Joe PantolianoBill King
Bijou PhillipsCharlie
Oliver 'Power' GrantRich Bower
Claudia SchifferGreta
William Lee ScottWill King
Brooke ShieldsSam Donager
Ben StillerMark Clear
Eddie Kaye ThomasMarty King
James TobackArnie Tishman
Mike TysonHimself
Elijah WoodWren
Kim MatulovaKim
Brett RatnerHimself
Method ManHimself
Inspectah DeckHimself
Ghostface KillahHimself
Sticky FingazHimself
George WayneHimself

Official URL

Official Site
  • Genre: Drama Movies
  • Theme(s): Fantasy
  • Director: James Toback
  • Producer: Columbia/Tri-Star
  • Length: 98 min
  • Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaApr 5, 2000
  • Ratings
    North AmericaR
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaSep 26, 2000
    EuropeMar 26, 2001
    AustraliaSep 28, 2000
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