Thoughts about HangTime

Like most other people in the class, I predicted that the lure of the ‘gang’ life was going to be too strong for Kwame, and that he would eventually give in, at some consequence. The story scene was a metaphor for what was about to happen in the following ways:

  • While Olu tells Kwame the Robert Johnson story, he wears red, a colour usually associated with the devil (00:42:26). After this scene, he wears mostly black, which is another colour also associated with the devil (00:51:52, 00:58:44) . This links Olu’s character to the character of the devil in the story.
  • When Kwame accepts the drink from Olu in the bar, he breaks one of his promises to his grandmother: his promise to be clean. This more or less leads us to expect that he will break his other two promises.
  • The story mentioned that the devil approached Robert from the back, and Robert did not look back while the devil retuned his guitar and eventually gave it back to him. On the golf course, when Olu mentions what Kwame will have to do to get $100, he stands behind him (00:48:48).
  • The Robert Johnson story results in the title character’s death, leading us to believe that a death, or some other fatality will occur as a consequence of Kwame’s action.

Kwame eventually yields to temptation as we expect, and his action results in his father’s death, although he gets the shoes that he needs to play basketball with. The film leaves us hanging though, in my opinion, because we are not sure whether he is recruited by the scout, or whether he is left behind and has to continue living life in the slums. I feel we would have been a bit more satisfied if the film had had some form of closure (e.g. a scene with the scout nodding or shaking his head after of the jumpball scene).

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