Over the last three years, a number of films have depicted the ghetto, along with the gang world, drugs, and the pain and despair of poverty. But rarely have we seen anything approaching the authenticity and poignant reality captured by Boa’ Yakin in his portrait of Fresh, Fresh is a prodigy, in the street sense of the term, Wise beyond his years, he’s growing up in almost unbearable circumstances: with an aunt and his younger cousins in a crowded apartment. He supports himself and saves for his escape by working for a drug dealer, but is unusual because he’s not at all taken in by the allure of ghetto glamour. Rather he’s quiet and deliberate and terribly reluctant to miss school or take unnecessary risks. In fact Fresh is such a true original that to reduce him to character categories does him a disservice, His sister Nicole is unfortunately setting off down the desperate path that we’ve often seen in films of this genre, but Fresh, resolute in his desire to free both of them, pursues a strategy that seems Incredible for a boy his age, he sees his father, although he has been forbidden to do so, and they play speed chess in Washington Square. Though it is far from a “normal” father-son relationship, it helps Fresh acquire the ability to adapt. Yakln has written a number of previous scripts, and this feature debut thrives with writerly nuances, as well as carefully crafted dialogue, a superb narrative and strikingly effective and real characters. That it’s as entertaining a film as It was a script testifies to his skill as a director.: he elicits strong performances, particularly from lead actor Sean Nelson and Samuel Jackson, who plays the father. There is both distinctive realism and an originality in fresh that well up from a world which we’ve seen before, but is seldom captured with this intelligence and emotion. –Sundance Film Festival
Boaz Yakin (born June 20, 1966 is an American screenwriter and film director based in New York City. Yakin studied filmmaking at City College of New York and New York University. He’s the writer of such screenplays as Fresh and A Price Above Rubies, and he is the director of the film Remember the Titans.
Yakin was born in New York City to an Israeli couple who met in Paris while studying mime with Marcel Marceau. He attended a yeshiva, and later, the Bronx High School of Science, where he was classmates in 1983 with actor Jon Cryer.
Yakin studied filmmaking at New York’s City College. He moved on to New York University, and made his first deal for a screenplay at the age of 19.
After finishing school, Yakin worked in the film business helping to develop projects for several companies, and saw his first screenplay reach the screen in 1989, when The Punisher, a vehicle for Dolph Lundgren, was released. Yakin’s next screenplay was The Rookie, starring Clint Eastwood… read more
'Fresh' (1994) is one of those films that is best seen at least twice. The first time to be taken by surprise, and the second time to fully appreciate the subtlety of this powerful and genre-defying film, the basis of which is a script of rare intelligence. Read my full review: http://www.brnrd.net/blog/archive/2007/12/16/fresh
The only true moment in this film (and what a moment it is) is the final scene. Otherwise, there is an overwrought and contrived feel to the many twists and turns of the plot. In dealing with the the young protagonist the film was too calculated and also too focused on the revenge narrative, rather the social/cultural side. A misguided effort that had the potential to be more from the power of that ending scene.