Paid In Full
Brandon Mangum & Eric Loth
Charles Stone III constructed a film that appears to be “typical” at first, but further into it you realize how unique this film actually is. Shot in the streets of Harlem during the 1980’s, Charles Stone III created a film that gave viewers the intense entertainment they are looking for while showing the consequences joining the drug world. Paid in Full is about three men who started with nothing until introduced to the fast life of drug dealing within their city of Harlem. During their journey they faced numerous conflicts which lead to a fight for power. This film uses the motifs of drugs and money to show how greed can empower you to make ironically immoral decisions.
The acting was good enough to make this movie acceptable. Wood Harris was phenomenal and so was Mekhi Phifer, but Cam’ron had a lot of off moments in the movie. The director did have a great pick on the main actors because these three worked well with each other and looked good with each other considering what the film is about. Mekhi who played as “Mitch” was one of our favorite actors in the movie. He gave the evil and deceiving look that the movie needed. Cam’ron just gave the movie the mood of it being a rap video, which it was not at all. Mitch was the one who made the movie for me. As for Wood Harris, he was great too, now we don’t know if it was intentionally as a character but Wood Harris, or “Ace” played a character who doesn’t really talk and/or do much. The way Ace played the character worked in the movie though, because he gave off more of a secret look and acts like he is all about his money and doesn’t care about other foolish things. We wished Cam’ron was played by someone else. We honestly hated his acting in this movie. This was one of the biggest downfalls of this movie to us. He played his character fine, but as he acts we can see the fakness.
The movie display many motifs some of the main ones are money, drugs, Harlem slang, and betrayal. Drugs and money where the main focus on this film, the three men wanted money so they resorted to a life of crime by selling drugs in order to see have money feels like. Both of these objects were thrown around like it was meaningless (more so the money than the drugs). In image 1 above, we notice that the three men are throwing money into the air and laughs as it falls to the ground. It was fun for them to do that every once in a while but ironically money and drugs were the one thing they killed for. This is when another motif comes into play: “betrayal”. Throughout this film there are scenes when the people in the movie get greedy and double cross a friend. Image 3 shows one scene where Ace got betrayed by a friend because of money and then left for dead. There was also another scene that was a lot more powerful and the director displayed it very well. This scene happened at the end of the movie when Ace got Mitch drugs to sell in order to pay the ransom to get his brother back. When Rico (his close friend) found out all he thought about was the money he could make from all of those breaks. So he shot and killed Mitch then ran off with the drugs. All of the motifs incorporate into the film were very vital and added character to this film.