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Paid in Full (2002)

Drama | 97 minutes
3,37 234 votes

Genre: Drama / Action

Duration: 97 minuten

Country: United States

Directed by: Charles Stone III

Stars: Wood Harris, Mekhi Phifer and Kevin Carroll

IMDb score: 7,0 (13.889)

Releasedate: 25 October 2002

Paid in Full plot

"The American Dream... Their way."

Harlem, New York, 1986. From the laundromat where he works, Ace greedily watches his friends Mitch and Calvin drive their expensive cars in fancy clothes. One day, while delivering clean clothes, he meets Lulu whose apartment and many jewels indicate a luxurious life. Ace is soon drawn to the world of drug dealing, where making quick money gives him a powerful position in the underworld. When his friends and family threaten to fall victim to his new lifestyle, Ace realizes that he must pay a heavy price for his growing success.

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avatar van Gang_Star


  • 6837 messages
  • 3401 votes

Although the DVD cover states that this is an action movie, this has been somewhat of an instinct for me. So I went in with the expectation that this would contain a lot of action scenes, but that was quite disappointing. I actually see this movie more as a crime/drama.

The beginning was a bit confusing, but after a long time it is finally explained why Ace got hurt . Despite the few action scenes, the film is entertaining enough to watch without boredom.

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original

avatar van IH88


  • 8574 messages
  • 3046 votes

“Even Ray Charles can see he's got money.”

The famous rise and fall story. What makes Paid in Full especially worthwhile is the role of Ace, played very strongly by Wood Harris. Because for the rest, Paid in Full is very predictable, and the actors mainly do a competition to see who can look the toughest and who can use as many swear words as possible in one sentence. It is certainly realistic, but it also quickly becomes repetitive and tedious. And like I said, the movie doesn't do anything you haven't seen before. But Harris's understated playing ensures that Paid in Full has an emotional anchor.

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original

avatar van Reint


  • 150 messages
  • 872 votes

A portrait of the crack epidemic that gripped Harlem in the mid-1980s, from the perspective of the young salespeople. But maybe even more about friendship, risks and life choices.

While a film like Boyz in the Hood ten years earlier still goes full on the organ of emotion, with almost melodramatic music, Paid In Full film has a much rawer and more realistic tone. I think this is due to two things; the film involved many people from the poverty-stricken suburbs (the film was produced by Roc-A-Fella - the record label owned by Jay-Z and Dame Dash - and the film tells the true story of story of kingpin Asia "AZ" Faison), and Charles Stone III knows exactly how to translate the unusual universe of these neighborhoods into cinematic poetry.

Examples include the Zabiskie Point-esque bills fluttering down from the sky, or the extra-long overlays between scenes. Furthermore, the dialogues are natural and straight forward, but they are always provided with subtext - a good example is the opening scene. Judging by the above reactions, this is something you completely miss if you're not familiar with the African-American slang and you only hear swear words. Be open to it I would say.

Really understand why this film has become a cult classic with a certain audience (the film is often referred to as the Scarface of its generation, ironically because the characters in the film go to the cinema for this film). A strong drama about good people in bad circumstances.

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original