Films-U-Missed: ‘Snow On Tha Bluff’ Represents “The Hood” Like Few Movies Have
It’s been a long time since we’ve had a Films-U-Missed write up, but while recently watching Snow On Tha Bluff and considering that our Ten Movies ‘The Hood’ Loves The Most list is our most popular post ever, this seems a good time to bring it back into the fold. Bluff is the very definition of a “hood movie” (it would likely make a similar list if being redone today) and is being hailed by rappers as one of the realest films about hood life in recent memory, with the likes of Killer Mike and B.O.B. making references to the film in their rhymes. Those references will likely only grow as the movie continues to gain steam 3 years after its making. It currently has found new life on Netflix streaming and is a bit of a hot button film for those that love hood films as well as deeper comments on American society at large.
Bluff stars Curtis Snow, a hustler, gangster, robin hood of sorts who lives his life in the forgotten and depressed “Bluff” area in Atlanta. Snow slangs crack and robs others for drugs and money with his team of cohorts. He balances life as a father with a mother he is no longer with and is the very definition of living a life of violence. The movie opens with a robbery and ends with an odd sense of hope. In between, there is death, a baby inches away from crack being cut up on a table (which caused protests at the film’s premiere), numerous bouts of guns and drug use and a general sense of despair (though the protagonists in the film don’t ever really let you feel it too much until it hits close to home in one scene.) This is a part of America that is apparently ignored, yet you would liken it to Syria if you saw this portrayed on the news. Poor doesn’t begin to describe Curtis’ hood, so he hustles to survive.
This drama is often depicted through hip-hop music and Hollywood has concocted it’s attempts at showing this realism numerous times over the years (notably to strong effect in Menace II Society). Still, the urgency and reality of the robberies and drug use in Bluff is never something that could pass through a studio system and see the light of day. It’s as much a documentary as anything and as Snow and his “niggas” push through their lives on the daily grind, for viewers it’s intoxicating and hopeless, but for the characters it is their reality. They know nothing else and therefore continue on in their struggle. Many have wondered about the reality of the piece and whether or not it is a true documentary, and while the answer is rather easily revealed, the fact that there is this debate is a positive development for the piece.
It was with “The Wire”‘s Omar (Michael K. Williams) financial assistance that got this piece moving. The film is entertaining, sad, funny, intriguing, beguiling, depressing and a mix of so many more potential reactions for witnesses. It gets people thinking and talking, or at least aims to. Some say it glorifies violence and drug use, but I can’t see the glory in it at all, if the final outcome is simply to smoke and drank a bit more and live to see another day. While it may indeed be senseless, for me, it’s as real a depiction of the Bluff or other hood areas most people don’t have access to or ever care to acknowledge even exist. Word is Snow is attempting to turn his life around after surviving a vicious box cutter attack to the neck. Once can only hope he is successful in this endeavor having survived the life that he’s led to this point. The film can shed light on it all for viewers but for the participants the mayhem goes on and on. There’s no bluff in that.