Monday, September 21, 2009

AB Goes To The Movies - Brick City.

For a city barely larger than my sprawling DC suburb, Newark, NJ (population: 281k) sure seems much bigger than the numbers suggest. Often maligned as either the murder, carjacking, or both Capitol Of The US, the city has undergone a renaissance of sorts in recent years. Even the casual passerby on an Amtrak en route to Penn Station will notice the gleaming new Prudential Center, lovely NJ Performing Arts Center, and chic warehouse condos dotting the skyline. But all that glimmers obviously isn't gold. The groundbreaking 5 part documentary Brick City, which airs all next week (starting tonight, Sept 21st) on The Sundance Channel, seeks to tell the behind the scenes story of a once great city to return to its former glory.

Executive produced by Forrest Whitaker, the documentary tells the Summer 08' story of Newark's struggle through three distinctly different voices. Cory Booker is the camera-friendly, enthusiastic, Ivy League-educated mayor whose election a few years ago garnered nationwide attention. Garry McCarthy is the tough-as-nails police chief tasked with returning order to the streets. A reformed gang member named Jada provides the real life perspective of the folks whose perspectives Booker and McCarthy must change if the city is ever to prosper. Telling the story from three such varies points of view (politician, cop, [ex]criminal) is undoubtedly going to lead to some comparisons to HBO's The Wire. If you found that show even remotely interesting, watching the real life drama of Brick City unfurl will certainly be worth the view.

Brick City airs every night this week at 10pm on The Sundance Channel.

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