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Set It Off

Where to Watch Set It Off


Set It Off is a heart-stopping 1996 crime thriller directed by F. Gary Gray. The movie stars renowned actresses Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, and Kimberly Elise, bringing to life a powerful, gritty narrative of four women who are driven to desperate measures by the harsh circumstances of their lives.

Set in the urban landscape of Los Angeles, Set It Off presents a poignant portrayal of four African-American women, each struggling in their own way. The narrative dives into the hard-hitting realities of racial and social injustice, economic disparity, and gender discrimination. However, Set It Off transcends beyond a mere crime drama to offer an intimate exploration of friendship, solidarity, and ultimate uncompromising survival.

The protagonist, Lida 'Stony' Newsom, is played by Jada Pinkett Smith. Her dream is to escape the residential projects and find a better life for her brother. Smith plays her role exceptionally, your heart aches for Stony as she deals with loss and her desperate hopes for a brighter future.

Queen Latifah, in a career-defining role, plays Cleopatra 'Cleo' Sims, a lesbian character who loves fast cars and is as strong and tough as she can be audacious. Cleo is fierce, unapologetically herself, and easily one of the most memorable characters in the film.

Tisean 'T.T.' Williams, portrayed by Kimberly Elise, is a single mother. She is caught in the system, striving to make a living and secure a good life for her young son. Vivica A. Fox is cast as Francesca 'Frankie' Sutton, an ambitious bank clerk who is unjustly fired from her job. The desperation drives these women to form an unusual bond, and together they decide to rob banks in hope for a better life.

The narrative journey of Set It Off is a stark depiction of the women's reality. They are stuck within a socio-economic bracket with bleak possibilities for mobility and burdened by the struggles of everyday life. The charms of a glamorous life that unfolds in bank heists and a taste of financial freedom are a stark contrast to their downtrodden situations, leading us to empathize with their desperate actions.

The movie also exposes the systemic racism and gender bias prevalent in society and how it hampers the aspirations of these women. All the while, their friendship remains the lifeblood of their heist endeavor. The characters' personal trials and their collective struggle, powered by outstanding performances, make for an intense, emotional, and gripping viewing experience.

The female-centric narrative in a predominantly male-driven genre makes Set It Off a groundbreaking film. Director F. Gary Gray adeptly crafts the narrative, blending intense action sequences and emotional depth. The brilliant casting of the film, furthermore, brings authenticity to these depictions.

The cinematography, as well, is striking, capturing the harsh reality of the streets of Los Angeles with a raw lens, evoking an arresting sense of place. The selection of notorious locations, abandoned warehouses, desolate buildings and eerie darkness represent their life's reality - rough, neglected, and almost hopeless.

Set It Off is a compelling social commentary, complete with a pulsating hip-hop soundtrack that matches the onscreen intensity and furthers the unique storytelling process. The unapologetic manner in which the film tackles profound social issues whilst delivering on an entertainment level emphasizes the movie’s significance, making it a standout.

Contrary to typical heist movies where the focus is on the crime itself, Set It Off concentrates on the motives and emotional turmoil of the characters. It's an insightful exploration of the tipping point that nudges these ordinary women into the world of crime.

This is an emotionally charged cinematic experience that is raw and rough around the edges but is tied together by the strength of its characters and their personal journeys–each as different from the other, yet intertwined in a compelling narrative arc.

Overall, Set It Off is far from just a standard action-packed crime film. It is an intimate narrative of friendship, a critical commentary on the social and economical issues of urban life, and most importantly, the story of survival against all odds, making this film a must-watch.

Set It Off is a Crime, Drama, Thriller movie released in 1996. It has a runtime of 123 minutes. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.9. It also holds a MetaScore of 62.

How to Watch Set It Off

Where can I stream Set It Off movie online? Set It Off is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Hulu Plus, Paramount+, Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, FuboTV, The Roku Channel, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Set It Off for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

F. Gary Gray
Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, Kimberly Elise, Blair Underwood, Dr. Dre
Also starring Jada Pinkett Smith
Set It Off is available on .