You will be redirected back to your article in seconds


Based on a true story, "Bounce" lays on the problems but subtly suggests solutions in its account of two South Bronx rappers trying to get a break. This ultra-low-budget look at inner-city aspirations sports admirable energy, full-bodied characterizations and narrative urgency. Pic deserves attention as a "black" item with crossover potential.

Himself - Walter Velasquez Lorenzo - Jamal Mackey Lorenzo's mother - L. Vee Anduze Himself - Anthony Young Narine - Pamela Johnson

Based on a true story, “Bounce” lays on the problems but subtly suggests solutions in its account of two South Bronx rappers trying to get a break. Sporting admirable energy, full-bodied characterizations and narrative urgency, this ultra-low-budget look at inner-city aspirations and ghetto reality drew attention in August when Miramax — with a script of the same title in the works — demanded a title change. But despite modest production values, this “Bounce” deserves attention in its own right for what first-time helmer Adam Watstein has put on screen: a “black” item with crossover potential.

Script grew out of the true experiences of Walter Velasquez, who coached kids with Watstein; Velasquez told Watstein about his rap partner’s murder.

Lorenzo (Jamal Mackey) deals drugs and is constantly in trouble, whereas his rapping partner, the more focused Walter (Velasquez playing his younger self) attends college and teaches athletics to youngsters. Walter’s pregnant girlfriend, Narine (Pamela Johnson), is Lorenzo’s sister, which keeps Walter in constant contact with Lorenzo’s frenzied welfare-based household.

Walter and Lorenzo have a real crack at a record contract, but the only kind of crack Lorenzo understands is the variety his hellcat of a mother (L. Vee Anduze, in an unnerving perf) smokes. Lorenzo ends up in jail just as their act is building momentum; Walter has to decide whether to wait for him to get out.

Lorenzo hails from a particularly strident environment — both affection and disgust are most often expressed via yelling and rough physical contact.

Walter, whose single mom is supportive, finds a father figure and source of inspiration in youth group director Anthony Young (playing himself), who donates office space to Walter as he tries to further his recording career and set up housekeeping with Narine.

Once out of the joint, Lorenzo promises to keep his nose clean but is on a collision course with disaster.

Building blocks of tale are not new, but there’s an appealingly rough-hewn and convincing tone to the proceedings. Velasquez gives an unpolished but steady perf as the young man trying to be a rock in a setting where others’ lives seem to shatter like shale. Ghetto lingo rings true, as do the emotional stakes.

Title means “leave,” as in “Let’s bounce.”


Production: A Dendrobium Films production. (International sales: Dendrobium Films, N.Y.) Produced by Adam Watstein, Jennifer Lyne. Co-producers, Walter Velasquez, Anthony Young. Directed, written by Adam Watstein; story, Walter Velasquez, Anthony Young.

Crew: Camera (color), Peter Olsen; editor, Ron Kalish; music, Lord Finesse; sound, Josh Apter; associate producer, Gary Greengrass. Reviewed at Chicago Film Festival (First and Second Feature Competition), Oct. 14, 1999. Running time: 108 MIN.

With: Himself - Walter Velasquez Lorenzo - Jamal Mackey Lorenzo's mother - L. Vee Anduze Himself - Anthony Young Narine - Pamela Johnson

More Film

  • Nona

    Film Review: 'Nona'

    Twenty years and 12 features down the line, it’s still hard to peg the directorial sensibility of Michael Polish, with or without the presence of brother Mark as frequent co-writer and actor. His output has been all over the place, from early Lynchian quirkfests to the very middle-of-the-road inspirational dramedy “The Astronaut Farmer,” not to [...]

  • Pawel Pawlikowski "Cold War"

    Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Cold War' Wins for Best Film, Director at European Film Awards

    “Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white romance set in the 1950s, scooped the prizes for best film, director and screenplay at the 31st edition of the European Film Awards on Saturday. “Cold War” star Joanna Kulig also won the award for best actress. Marcello Fonte, the star of Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” won for best actor. Armando Iannucci’s [...]

  • The Favourite Bohemian Rapsody Star is

    The Best Movie Scenes of 2018

    When we think back on a movie that transported us, we often focus on a great scene — or maybe the greatest scene — in it. It’s natural. Those scenes are more than just defining. They can be the moment that lifts a movie into the stratosphere, that takes it to the higher reaches of [...]

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Box Office: 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Soars Toward $35-40 Million Debut

    “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is swinging into theaters on a high note. Sony-Marvel’s latest output is launching to $42 million from 3,813 North American locations in its debut, though other more conservative estimates place that number at $35.5 million. The animated superhero story picked up $12.6 million on Friday, easily leading the pack for the weekend. [...]

  • Ventana Sur : Cinema226 Closes Four

    Cinema226 Announces Four Intl. Co-Productions, Hints at More (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexico’s Cinema226, run by Marco Antonio Salgado and Sam Guillén, is driving into a raft of Mexico, Argentina and Spain co-productions, playing off the current vibrancy of Mexican film production funding and distribution outlets. Among the projects are titles which have been standouts at Ventana Sur’s Blood Window, the next film by Mexico-based Argentine filmmaker [...]

  • Ventana Sur Debates Gender Parity in

    Ventana Sur Debates Gender’s 50/50 in 2020 for Argentina Film Industry

    BUENOS AIRES — Despite recent gains, namely the equality pledge towards 50/50-2020 signed at the Mar del Plata Film Festival on Nov. 12, producer Magalí Nieva, pointed out that no representative from INCAA was present following the apparent resignation of its vice-president Fernando Juan Lima. “We are left without an interlocutor to discuss gender policies [...]

  • Ventana Sur Rocks with Sales, Mass

    Ventana Sur Rocks with Sales, Mass Attendance, Structural Growth

    BUENOS AIRES — Celebrating its 10th anniversary with a huge hike in attendance to over 4,000 accredited delegates, the 2018 Ventana Sur will go down in history on multiple counts: Sales and pick-ups on movies which combined social comment and entertainment value, increasingly the new foreign-language movie standard; new sections, led by a Proyecta co-production [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content