Much to the chagrin of the Undude, I am taking a break from watching arthouse documentaries and reading political biographies by watching a political documentary. But there is something to be said about keeping to a reliable genre for a films that I know I'll probably enjoy. Street Fight was an exception - it wasn't a movie that i merely enjoyed, it was one that thoroughly captivated me. This film retells the 2002 Newark mayoral campaign that pitted Cory Booker, a rising black political star in the P.B. (Pre-Barack) era against incumbent black mayor Sharpe James.
Filmmaker Marshall Curry follows Booker's upstart campaign, which eventually gained the endorsement of Bill Bradley, Spike Lee and Cornel West, and shows the raw emotions of the campaign - both on the trail and in the war room. Both Booker, a Stanford All-American football player turned Rhodes Scholar turned Yale Law School graduate, and James, a candidate from the old school, are compelling figures, for different reasons. I won't ruin the ending for folks (though a simple Wikipedia search would reveal the ending - an Achilles Heel for all political documentaries I suppose), because the film is extraordinarily sublime in the way it vests the viewer in the outcome of an election held half a decade ago.
Because DudeSpin's Better Know series only touts movies that it recommends, I find giving out ratings to be a bit superfluous and self-defeating. Nevertheless, I am comfortable in saying that this film is nearly on par with State of Mind in its entertainment, educational, and aesthetic qualities - and that is no small compliment.