After enjoying a sustained run of popularity at the box office (Bowling For Columbine, Super Size Me, March Of The Penguins etc…) the documentary genre seems to be losing its gloss and this extremely gritty, raw film will probably only have limited appeal.
Shot during 2004 in Haiti’s largest slum (one of the poorest and most violent places on earth), it follows the (mis)fortunes of two brothers, Bily and Haitian 2Pac, gang leaders who fight an increasingly dangerous turf war while the country descends into anarchy around them.
With rebels bearing down on the capital, a French relief worker tries to help them verbally negotiate their way out of trouble rather than resort to machine guns and bullets, but their situation seems precarious. Even 2Pac’s rapping ability and his unlikely friendship with Haitian-born star Wyclef Jean can’t compensate for the utter poverty and hopelessness in which he and his people live.
Much of the handheld footage is of poor quality (a wake held at night for one of the ‘soldiers’ is so dark as to be almost unintelligible) adding to the sense of doom and gloom. This being a documentary and not a Hollywood movie, there is no happy ending, and so it proves to be a worthy but ultimately depressing enterprise from film-maker Asger Leth. Pixie Santos