Set It Off (1996)


Movie Review

Directed by: F. Gary Gray

Starring: Jada Pinkett, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, Kimberly Elise, Blair Underwood, and Dr. Dre

Frankie Sutton (Vivica A. Fox) is a bank teller who loses her job when her bank is robbed.  Given that she knows the robber, her boss falsely assumes that she is involved in the robbery somehow.  Unemployed, she joins her friends Stony Newsome (Jada Pinkett), Cleo Sims (Queen Latifah), and T.T. Williams (Kimberly Elise) working for a janitorial company.  Meanwhile, Stony mourns the loss of her brother Stevie after he is mistakenly murdered by police in their attempts to capture the bank robbers.  T.T. also loses her son to Social Services because he gets sick when she has to bring him to work.  Given the girls’ disdain for the law and financial institutions, Cleo convinces them to rob banks.  Initially, they only intend to rob a single bank, but once they get a taste, that plan gets thrown out the window.

Set It Off is a crime movie from a black woman’s perspective.  It’s got all the blood, death, and guts of a crime flick, but it’s also got gossip, drama, and some more tender moments.  In particular, Queen Latifah gives one of her best performances on the big screen as the muscular lesbian Cleo.  She is the toughest chick in the clique and backs that fact up with a gun in hand.  Her performance alone is a good enough reason to check out Set It Off.  Don’t miss out on this good flick.



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