Cinema: A Chill on the Heart

A Chill on the Heart

To be young, gifted and black in America today is to live poised on a cruelly honed knife-edge. There are doubtless more opportunities than ever for bright, ambitious kids to escape the ghetto. But the chances of being wasted by random violence have also increased. In his remarkable debut film, BOYZ N THE HOOD (as in neighborhood), writer-director John Singleton, 23, maps gang-ridden South Central Los Angeles with a cartographer's cool realism. But what gives powerful resonance to his film -- whose opening was accompanied by shootings in theaters across the U.S. that left at least one dead and dozens wounded...

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