Belly | Chicago Reader

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It's not the convoluted yet obvious plot of this 1998 drama about the domestic lives and criminal careers of two childhood friends (DMX and Nas) that draws you in—it's the splendid visuals. Set mainly in New York City and Omaha, where these drug dealers do business according to their different ambitions, the movie is an image opera that deftly turns visual gimmicks into potent symbols. The interiors are cloaked in darkness or stripped bare by hard-edged lighting and the exteriors' striking color schemes are hyperreal yet somehow not flashy. Writer-director Hype Williams uses this expressive visual language to speak harshly and wistfully, simply and savvily of the characters' sobering submission to the law of supply and demand.

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