Black and White (1999 drama film)
Black and White is a 1999 American film directed by James Toback and starring Robert Downey Jr., Gaby Hoffmann, Allan Houston, Jared Leto, Scott Caan, Claudia Schiffer, Brooke Shields, Bijou Phillips and members of the Wu-Tang Clan (Raekwon, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Oli "Power" Grant, Masta Killa, Bruce Lamar Mayfield "Chip Banks" and Inspectah Deck) and Onyx (Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz). The film also features Ben Stiller as a sleazy police detective, as well as Mike Tyson playing himself and Michael B. Jordan in his film debut. It had its first showing at the Telluride Film Festival on September 4, 1999, followed by a second screening at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 15, 1999. It had its theatrical release in the United States on April 5, 2000.
|Black and White|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||James Toback|
|Produced by||Daniel Bigel|
Edward R. Pressman (Executive Producer)
|Written by||James Toback|
|Music by||American Cream Team|
|Edited by||Myron Kerstein|
|Distributed by||Screen Gems|
|Box office||$5 million|
Rich Bower (Power) is a mover and shaker in the world of rap music (he's involved with a number of other licit and illicit business ventures as well), and his apartment is a favored meeting place for musicians, hangers-on, and hipsters who want to seem cool, including a clique of white people who want to be on the inside of what they consider the coolest scene of the day. Sam (Shields), a filmmaker, is making a documentary about Rich and his circle, with the help of her husband Terry (Downey), a closeted homosexual who doesn't feel at home in this milieu.
Dean (Houston) is Rich's friend and a talented college basketball player. He is offered a deal by a bookmaker, Mark (Stiller) to throw a few games for a price. Dean takes the money against his better judgment, and he soon realizes how much of a mistake he made when Mark turns out to be a cop hoping to dig up dirt on Rich. Rich in turn discovers that Dean might be forced to tell what he knows to stay out of jail, and he decides that Dean has to be killed; however, rather than murder his friend himself, Rich asks one of the white people who hangs out with him, who seems especially eager to prove himself, to do it for him. The boy, however, is actually the son of the District Attorney.
- Robert Downey Jr. as Terry Donager
- Gaby Hoffmann as Raven
- Allan Houston as Dean Carter
- Jared Leto as Casey
- Scott Caan as Scotty
- Stacy Edwards as Sheila King
- Kidada Jones as Jesse
- Marla Maples as Muffy
- Joe Pantoliano as Bill King
- Bijou Phillips as Charlie
- Oli "Power" Grant as Rich Bower
- Raekwon as Cigar
- Claudia Schiffer as Greta
- William Lee Scott as Will King
- Brooke Shields as Sam Donager
- Ben Stiller as Det. Mark Clear
- Eddie Kaye Thomas as Marty King
- Frank Adonis as Frank
- Elijah Wood as Wren
- Mike Tyson as himself
- Jaime McAdams as James
- Michael B. Jordan as younger boy #2
Most of the script was improvised by the cast. Only Claudia Schiffer's part was fully scripted.
Because she had not had them done previously, Claudia Schiffer had to have her ears pierced especially for the large hoop earrings worn by her character. In addition to sporting fake dreadlocks, Brooke Shields also wore a nose ring for this film, for which she had her nose temporarily pierced.
Review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes reports that 39% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 80 reviews; the critical consensus states, "The atmosphere is affecting, and the story, at times, is compelling, but with a lean script and limp direction, Black and White doesn't add up to much." Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 based on reviews from film critics, the film has a rating score of 47%, aggregating 27 reviews. Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars.