Prince of Broadway
Real and raw, “Prince of Broadway” still manages to have quite the soft side.
The film focuses on a street hustler named Lucky (Prince Adu), who brings people into his boss’s (Karren Karigulian) clothing shop and leads them to a back room where they can buy major label handbags and sneakers at a discount. Lucky lives a meager existence, sleeping on a pile of blankets on the floor of his tiny apartment, saving money to start up his own racket.
Then an ex-girlfriend (Kat Sanchez) shows up with a baby she says is his, drops the tyke into his arms, and disappears, leaving Lucky quite literally holding the bag.
He’s completely ill-prepared to be a parent (he doesn’t even know how to properly hold a baby), so he leans on his friends and his boss, and takes his baby with him to work every day.
The film is in many ways a more raw version of the 2007 film “Tsotsi,” where a South African hood carjacks a vehicle with a baby in the back seat, but more raw and real (which isn’t a slight against that film).
The end credits note that the majority of the dialog in “Prince” is improvised, and it’s a testament to the actors involved that it’s never apparent that that’s the case. The dialog is completely naturalistic, always feels authentic to the characters, and never comes across as untrue.
Director Sean Baker shoots the film in tight close-ups, bringing us closer to the characters, and never sugar coats the characters. We like them for their genuine qualities and have to deal with their flaws.
Lucky doesn’t quickly become the model parent; indeed he often raises his voice to the child (which is about a year old), and at one point leaves him alone in a restaurant. But we know how attached he’s become, not through any dialog, but through the glint in his eye when he’s alone with the child, and the joy he takes in caring for him.
The movie has a wicked sense of humor as well, employing one particularly effective poop joke without a filter or childish sound effects, but rather one very striking visual. “Prince” is a breathtaking testament to parenting, to growing up, and to becoming a man, and is a marvel of low-budget filmmaking.
Rating: 5 Yaps out of 5