I talked to a critic last night (i.e., Saturday) who acknowledged that Craig Brewer’s Hustle & Flow is obviously well-liked by the Sundance audience so far and is “the first movie to break through” so far. However, an opinion was also confided that it’s basically “bullshit” and “straight out of 1930s Warner Bros. formula.” I’m sorry but this critic (a very smart fellow) has never been more wrong. I know what it feels like when a Sundance movie has gone through the roof. Okay…mountain-air syndrome, right? But I know when a movie is working on all six cylinders (notice I didn’t say eight cylinders…there’s a qualification here) and is achieving ace-level delivery in terms of atmospheric grit, soul, craft, emotion and superb acting, and Hustle & Flow is definitely one of these. Will it play to white audiences as well as black? Will it in fact “play black”? My naysaying critic friend says it might not given the lack of stars, but I would be shocked right down to my Banana Republic two-tone socks if this thing doesn’t do very, very well. I liked it so much I’m going to try and see it again at this afternoon’s (Sunday, 1.23) press screening at the Yarrow.