Money, Power, Respect, directed by Jamal Hill is a hard-hitting urban drama set on the streets of Philadelphia.
Met with mixed reviews “Money, Power, Respect” an indie movie directed by Jamal Hill is almost like any indie movie, low budget, bad acting, poor to no special effects, weak camera work and a slow and uninteresting script. However, “Money, Power, Respect”, though not a great movie, manages to sustain an audience and is not all that bad after all. It has its weaknesses that certainly cannot be overlooked, but it still gives a shot at the script, which is all too familiar. The movie is like watching a cheaper version of a story that we have already seen in a big budget film; only what lacks here is the frills of a large screen cinema. Jamal Hill has tried to put a familiar script together, but unfortunately the low budget shows clearly.
The story is set in Philadelphia, where the protagonist Levi (Kyle Shell) lives with his hard-working mother who wants her son to pursue his studies. On the other hand the back alleys of Philadelphia also influence the young boy, who is led astray by the astute drug dealers Juan (Jamal Hill) and Drew (Lionell Dalton) who expose him to the underworld of drugs, murder and robbery. It is up to Levi to decide which path he will choose, the one that his mother wants him to or the path that will earn him some quick bucks. Levi decides for the latter and gets entangled in the web of drug pedaling. His decision brings for him money, power and respect all too soon, as he gets deeper and deeper into the tangles of drug trafficking.
Will this life get him very far? Will he be able to achieve his goals? These are some of the questions that come into mind when we see Levi taking the road to destruction. The story sounds all too familiar and we get the feeling of a movie already seen. It somewhat reminds you of “Scarface”, a movie that was released several years ago, but again as we proceed into the script, we see a marked difference in the approach. It is some of these flaws that give the movie mixed reviews from its audiences. While a section of people think of the movie as an all-in-all bad production, there are others who find the movie quite praiseworthy. If you ignore the technical aspects of the movie, you may find it quite entertaining.
Considering the low budget that the film has, keeping high expectations from it is not reasonable. At least the film tries to prove its point, even if it is successful only to a small extent. Due to the low budget of indie films, makers of such films are unable to pay for good actors and so they have to make do with friends and family, which most of the time results for the poor acting in these films and Money, Power, Respect is no exception to this fact. Despite all its weak points and flaws in the production, the movie stands to be better than movies of its kind. If the movie were to be made by a more experience director and had the budget of a Hollywood flick, it might have clicked with the audience better. However, as nothing as such has happened, we have to suffice with the poor work that goes into an indie film, which are not always a disaster.