A painting of me

The Corner

   19 May 2010, early morning

I finished watching The Corner yesterday. The mini-series is about a drug addled street corner of Baltimore. The series was based on a book written by The Wire creator David Simon, and his colleague Ed Burns. The series was directed by Charles S. Dutton. Each episode begins and ends with Dutton interviewing a cast member, as if the series was a documentary, but the episodes themselves proceed like your typical drama. The show features 3 key protagonists: Gary, a father; Fran, his ex-wife; and DeAndre, their son; the parents are both heroin addicts. If you’ve seen The Wire, you will recognize much of the supporting cast of The Corner. It’s a little bit strange, as the drug addicts in The Corner end up playing respectable citizens in The Wire. Like The Wire, the writing for The Corner is top notch, as is the acting. I liked the way it was filmed. It’s a well put together show.

The Corner’s main theme, to me anyway, seems to be about the disintegration of the Black community (in Baltimore). Dutton examines how family ties are broken and warped, how the community no longer care for one another, how they are quick to turn on each other, etc. The Corner is an amazing look at the destruction wrought on Baltimore and cities like it by drugs, in more or less one generation. Throughout the series he uses incredibly short flash backs to hint at a more idyllic time, or to give the viewer insight into how a character’s fall may have come about. Like The Wire, the corner also can be seen as a critique of institutions. In this case, the “corner” and the destructive life of drugs and gangs that it represents is something the characters can not escape. Throughout the series characters make moves to try and remove themselves from their current circumstances, but more often than not those very same circumstances are what pull them back to the corner.

If you are a fan of The Wire, it’s well worth watching The Corner.



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