The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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New director gets “Dirty” with Cuba Gooding Jr.

With a seasoned super-star and an inexperienced director, “Dirty” carries with it the weight of trial, error and success from a filmmaker at the beginning of his career.

Writer and director Chris Fisher guides us down the streets of Los Angeles, where Officer Salim Adel, played by Oscar-winning Cuba Gooding Jr., and Officer Armando Sancho (Clifton Collins Jr.) are shown going through what turns out to be a significant day in their lives. Sancho and Adel are former gang members turned straight, sort of.

The film creates a mood that crosses elements of films such as “Traffic,” “Training Day,” and “Crash” and combine them with a hint of horror that blends genres in ways that can interest or put off an audience.

Set in present day Los Angeles, “Dirty” is the type of film where the audience is uncertain of what is happening for a good portion of the beginning. They are left in the dark and over the course of the film, are given hints and privileged to information that explain what is really happening within the story and the minds of the characters.

Beginning in the morning of what seems to be an ordinary day, the two police officers are seen in their home environments getting ready, showering, interacting with their family and eventually heading off to work.

It is here that we first hear the voice of Officer Sancho who intermittently provides the audience with insight into his life and lifestyle.

It is here that the audience experiences the most insightful portions of the script. Lines such as, “You can’t change the color of your skin. You can’t change the color of your heart. You can change the colors you wear,” further explain the theme of the film, that LAPD is the ruling gang amid a war of corruption.

Engrossing the entire time, “Dirty” is definitely a film that is capable of entertaining the viewer while at times going slightly overboard. The representation and interaction of Mexican gang members are overdressed and overdramatic. This film played too deeply into the idea of blending both artistry and being a gangster film.

With the audience seeing the movie in one light, perhaps a dramatic psychological thriller with a hint of corruption, then swiftly transitioned into a film that would appeal to the general masses based on soundtrack, and other cheap thrills.

The high point of “Dirty” was not during one moment of the film, but throughout the entire movie. The most enjoyable thing to watch was Cuba Gooding Jr. not only convince the audience that he was a corrupt member of the L.A.P.D. with a racist attitude and an invincible mentality, but more importantly that he was a good person.

As officer Adel, Gooding Jr.’s intensity held strong for the duration of the entire film regardless of the situation of his character. While it was so easy to hate him, the audience could not tear their eyes away from his dynamic charisma and total lapse in judgment.

Alongside Gooding were three other actors of significant caliber. Collins Jr., who has only begun to emerge in the film industry and who has received recognition for his work in such films as “Tigerland” and “Traffic,” manages to maintain his presence even opposite a veteran of Gooding’s size. The sympathy of the film managed to lie with him, regardless of his character’s actions. Other notable performances included the experienced and talented Keith David and Cole Hauser.

“Dirty” is in theatres now with is limited release.

Kourtney Sonntag can be reached at

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