Village Voice February 1, 2009


Predictably, perhaps, the year's big-ticket doc about race and class is the work of a rich, white fashion photographer turning his gaze on a poor, black subculture. It's also the most infectiously energetic and inspiring doc I've seen in years. RIZE, which follows the moves of hip-hop dancers so crazy-quick that the doc starts by vowing its footage hasn't been manipulated, was rightly regarded in Park City as the South Central Paris Is Burning. Director David LaChapelle opens with images of L.A. ablaze in '65 and '92, and ends, after several sad turns, with a Maya Angelou poem. In between, the dancers prove more than capable of directing themselves, which makes the movie less tricky to applaud.

by Rob Nelson