White Boy | Chicago Reader

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Racial antagonism propels this pseudo-Shakespearean tragedy set in working-class Orange County. Director John Marino credibly depicts the dead-end milieu inhabited by charismatic young hustler Brian (Johnny Green) and the racist skinheads who recruit his impressionable brother, but the film's black dope dealers (headed by rappers WC and Paris), who eventually force a confrontation with the skinheads, are stereotypical boyz 'n' the hood. Amy, a black waitress that Brian falls for, invokes Romeo and Juliet at the end of the film, but these rival factions aren't the Capulets and the Montagues by a long shot, and the dialogue is pure Valley talk, peppered with ethnic slang and racial epithets. Marino's jittery mise-en-scene recalls the Fox TV series 21 Jump Street, with Green echoing Johnny Depp's mix of swagger and vulnerability, while the sound track relies on pop oldies—most prominently Lynyrd Skynyrd—for mood and irony. With Jonathan Avildsen (frighteningly realistic as the skinheads' nasty leader), Jan-Michael Vincent (typecast as a dissolute cop), and Allen Garfield (likewise, as a sleazy salesman).

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