What’s striking about fresh is that although it centers around a child and features children in many of its scenes, this is very much an adult themed film.
The story is told from the perspective from 12-year-old Fresh who when we meet him is doing the dirty work for two notorious drug lords while also attending school and living in foster care. He tries to look out for his older sister Nichole as best he can, while trying to satisfy the wishes of his multiple overlords. In the midst of all this, is the strained relationship he has with his father Sam, played by Samuel L. Jackson. Fresh’s father teaches him about chess — and life — and Fresh would later need those lessons in ways he could have never imagined.
I first saw ‘Fresh’ back in 2003 and it was a powerful film to me then and still remains so now years later. Released in 1994, the film really harbors back to a New York City that I vaguely remember as a child and one that has changed quite rapidly in the years since the film’s release. Seeing the old buses, buildings and Manhattan skyline, really helps set the tone for the film.
At first glance, ‘Fresh’ might labeled at a typical ‘hood’ film. While there are definitely inner-city elements and themes at play, the characters and story are nevertheless strong throughout. The viewer is able to see love, loss, capitalism, fear, lust, and justice as critical themes in the film. The fact that these themes play out through the eyes of mostly children makes it even more powerful I would say.
This film is definitely worth the watch.