Hip Hop Crime Story
“Cool” is one of the last films of the controversial director, Theo Van Gogh who was murdered in 2004. It stars five young and immigrant juvenile delinquents who fill their lives with idle crime. As they move from misdemeanors to their first felony, a bank heist goes wrong and they are caught and convicted They receive a sentence of a year and a half in a special institution, the Glen Mills School. They are to be re-educated inside of serving their sentences in a juvenile facility. Here they find themselves at a new place in life and must realize whether or not they will actually make it through their sentences. If they do they will have to turn away from a life of crime and from their friends.
Van Gogh was a vociferous advocate for free speech and was murdered by a Muslim extremist who took his life because of a documentary dealing with the treatment of Islamic women. He shows us in this film life on the streets of the Netherlands through the eyes of a small group of Moroccan adolescents who challenged by a life of idealism but forced to act criminally by the financial rewards of petty crime. Adbel is the leader of the group who is manipulated into a felony attempt by Prof , a young gangster. When they are apprehended but undercover cops and are forced into reform school, they are supposed to learn how to fit into society. At first they resist but eventually learn through group therapy the benefits of self-respect and respect for others. They are also to discover goals in order to turn their lives around. When they finally reach the point that they are given a pass to visit the “real world”, an incident occurs that capitalizes on what they have learned at the reform school.
The drama is mediocre but it does give insights into underground Dutch society, hip-hop music and crime prevention. It all seems to be surreal and the acting could have been so much better. The movie seems to be advertising the benefits of reform schools and this is a minus. The movie as a whole is bland and the use of hip-hop music does not always work. The message is clear but it is brought to us diluted and the cast, as I said, is quite weak. Even with that, I did learn something about the Netherlands and the perils of being down and out to the point of being forced to live a life of crime.