So, boom, Set It Off. A 90’s classic that includes my favorite En Vogue song, “Don’t Let Go (Love)”, as the background for one the most sensual love scenes of that decade. A film about four women with different struggles that took it upon themselves to make a MAJOR change in their lives, that would ultimately cost them their lives.
Before we start to honor this classic, I want to say that there should have never been a remake, a play or anything else that would disrespect this classic. I love Kyla Pratt and I watch and support any and everything that she’s in…except her participation in that play. I just wanted to get that off my chest.
The story is of four friends in the hood who want better for themselves. Every one of them have their issues. Stony, at the beginning of the film, is trying to find a way for her younger brother to go to college. Once he is gunned down, that ambition doesn’t really go away. It just manifests in a different way. Cleo, who seems like she was always the one to come up with the crazy schemes, suggests the foursome rob a bank. Seems easy enough. Frankie used to work at the bank so she knows all the protocol, Cleo is brute force Stony is smart and TT….she needed the money to keep her kid. That’s all I got for TT.
So what makes this film a classic? This is the first time I had seen four badass women on screen taking charge in this way, by any means necessary. F. Gary Gray, the director of this film, had a way of making you feel every emotion, which is why I enjoy the love scene between Stony and Keith. Each death scene tore me up. I don’t know about y’all but they get me every time especially when Stony watches the FBI shot Frankie in the back as she runs to catch the bus with her. I feel like that was due in part to how it was shot. For me, it seemed very intimately shot and the lighting was mostly warm and inviting. Made it much harder on me when things didn’t go in their favor. I felt like I failed too.
Yes, these women are doing something really illegal but for them, it was a necessary evil that they have to explore in order to survive. It’s the kind of grit that made black 90’s cinema so memorable and classic.
Give me your thoughts. What do you remember about this movie and don’t mention Queen and her sexuality?