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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth watching
As a fore runner to the brilliant series 'The Wire', 'The Corner' has plenty going for it. This series is in six parts and is based around a family from Baltimore. The story charts a year in the life of this family and as this is based on a true story it does make for grim viewing at times. It is a fine piece of television.

The acting is pretty much fabulous...
Published on 11 May 2009 by Mr. A. Whiteside

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting precursor to The Wire
This was originally early in the 200os based on Simon's journalistic work in Baltimore and focusing on six depressing junkies. Good performances but the pseudo doco style is less convincing than the later fictional approach in the Wire. You can recognise characters that appear later in different guises in The Wire but this is an interesting demonstration of why fiction is...
Published 9 months ago by Chalk the Sun


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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth watching, 11 May 2009
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Mr. A. Whiteside "tonyjackie3" (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Corner: The Complete Mini Series [DVD] [2000] [2009] (DVD)
As a fore runner to the brilliant series 'The Wire', 'The Corner' has plenty going for it. This series is in six parts and is based around a family from Baltimore. The story charts a year in the life of this family and as this is based on a true story it does make for grim viewing at times. It is a fine piece of television.

The acting is pretty much fabulous across the board here and in particular Khandi Alexander as Fran. She is superb and for her to stand out in a cast this good says much for her performance. There are several actor's from 'The Wire' in this series and it seems odd at first to see them in roles completely different to the ones we are more used to. There is a very nice touch at the end when the real character's featured are interviewed and this obviously adds to the realism.

So is it as good as 'The Wire'? In my opinion it isn't quite up to the very high standards that that series has set but it is definitely well worth watching and would make a very worthwhile purchase.
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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its got that Mike Tyson.., 14 May 2007
I could write an essay on the virtues of this series, but instead I'll just say that this is pretty much a masterpiece of a miniseries. Its not worthy or hard-work, in fact its the opposite, a super fine focussed look at life in a drug supermarket in Baltimore based on actual real life occurrences and it has got some serious soul to it. At times its hilarious , other times its heartbreaking, and it gets the balance between the two just right. But what really did it for me was the way it took non-fiction events and turned them into something that is a definitive parable of the shift in values regarding the deliberate neglect of communities over the last 30 years. If that sounds kind of vague, well, I guess I just don't want to give to much away, but I can't recommend it enough. Truly powerful stuff.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Corner Girl Comments..., 1 July 2010
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This review is from: The Corner: The Complete Mini Series [DVD] [2000] [2009] (DVD)
As someone with experience of this world myself, I cannot speak highly enough of this series, or perhaps more specifically, of the book behind it. Having read a lot of books on the subject of drugs, mostly autobiographies from sufferers of addiction, I would have no problem with stating that I have never read one better written or with more insight into the drug lifestyle, and the irony (or perhaps reason?) in this case is that neither author has ever been a user. The book brought me to tears on many occasions, and made me smile with a wry familiarity on others, as I recognised many of the characters described - either in myself, or those I have known who inhabit this scene. The book flits competently from essays on the issues at stake in ghetto America, to the painfully honest narrative as it follows the people involved. I truly cannot rate it enough. As for the mini-series that evolved from it, it was well-crafted as a piece of cinema, and heart-wrenching when you meet the real characters and are reminded that it is true, that it is more documentary than fiction, and that these are lives. Unusually, it barely suffered from the common errors that films developed from well-loved books often make; it handled the necessary adaptations extremely well. Read it. Watch it. Love it. Learn...
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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pre-wire - a warm up if you will, 6 April 2009
This review is from: The Corner: The Complete Mini Series [DVD] [2000] [2009] (DVD)
I watched the Corner having already watched the Wire and loved it. Despite being freaked out that a lot of the same actors are in both series (especially when they are junkies in the Corner and police in the Wire)it acts as a sort of warm up for newbies. The 6 part mini series is based on real interviews and it's gritty ie. they show a lot of needles which made my husband very queasy ! The characters are likeable though and considering I wasn't sure how dark this would be I found myself really engaged in the story of how members of one family have been affected by poverty and drugs.

This really won't appeal to everyone, but that's not the point. It't nowhere near as many hours as the wire so you can get an introduction or if like me you watch it after then you pretty much know you'll get the hang of it. Well written and beautifully acted throughout - worth a watch.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please bring this out on region 2!!!!, 11 Sept. 2006
By 
A. Norman "def_jukie101" (Scarborough) - See all my reviews
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This is one of the best series I've ever seen, channel 4 showed it years ago at 2am but it was well worth staying up for, it was like a gritty british film set in an american ghetto, shot like a documentery i'd love to get a copy of this[...]
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of television, 15 April 2009
By 
John G. Lynch "jlines" (e17) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Corner: The Complete Mini Series [DVD] [2000] [2009] (DVD)
This is the story of one families and one neighbourhoods interaction with the drug trade - shown in all its naked detail sometimes difficult to watch but ultimitely truthful to the story of those people who lived this life in 1993 in Baltimore.
Reluctant though I am to say it - it is at least as good as The Wire.
Absolutely devestating.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wire fans should like this, 7 Nov. 2009
This review is from: The Corner: The Complete Mini Series [DVD] [2000] [2009] (DVD)
I have just finished watching The Wire and thought it was an excellent series. When I read that quite a lot of the actors in that series had also appeared in The Corner, I decided to get that and have enjoyed it as well.

The Corner mainly focuses on the lives of a small group of individuals and the battle that some of them have with their drug addictions, but does contain some lighter, funnier moments as well.

This is a sort of smaller scale, drawing board/embryonic type version of what would later be The Wire. Those of you who have seen The Wire, will notice a lot of the actors who were in that series and they appear here often playing totally different characters than what they did in that. Not mentioning any names, but you will even see a well known drug dealer working in a shoe shop lol.

The number I managed to recognise reached well into double figures...see how many you can spot.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A WIRE WARM UP, 24 April 2009
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This review is from: The Corner: The Complete Mini Series [DVD] [2000] [2009] (DVD)
Being a 'wire' addict I had to get this precursor, its very good. It's funny to see so many of the actors from 'the wire' in it. Its only 6 episodes so doesn't have the same 'depth' as 'the wire' but it riffs on most of the same themes and has a similar humour. Its well worth seeing but equally bleak on America.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars before the Wire, 19 Jun. 2009
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Mr. K. H. Cobb (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Corner: The Complete Mini Series [DVD] [2000] [2009] (DVD)
Although this lacks the depth of the Wire, both in variety of plots and characters, it is equally gripping. It's about the people of Baltimore who are affected by and dealing in drugs, and much less about the police. There's less explicit violence, but the often grim and miserable lives many of the people live comes through powerfully. There's a sort of mock documentary aspect, and at the end the real people on whom the characters were based are interviewed. Some of the actors reappear in the Wire, often in very different roles. If you're a fan of the Wire, you'll love this as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing Drugs Tale, 15 Nov. 2012
By 
MLA (Jakarta, Indonesia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Corner: The Complete Mini Series [DVD] [2000] [2009] (DVD)
The Corner is a short TV series very much in the style of the outstanding The Wire. It is a mainly harrowing look at the lives of a dysfunctional community of mainly drug addicts on the corner of West Fayette and North Monroe in Baltimore. The Corner arrived before The Wire but became well-known because of the latter. It is based on the book The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighbourhood by David Simon and Ed Burns who are also responsible for much the television adaptation and for The Wire. The Corner is only six episodes long and to some extent feels a bit like a pilot for The Wire but it is still excellent in its own right and a useful addition to the collection for any fan of The Wire.

The six episodes largely focus on the lives of one particular family. The McCulloughs are absolutely ruined by drugs. Father Gary McCullough is one of the saddest characters television has produced. That he is based on a very real person makes it a much harder story. Gary is a decent enough guy but has fallen prety to drugs, especially heroin. He is absolutely destroyed by the drug. Mother Fran is a much less sympathetic character to start with, her own drug addiction seemingly having taken Gary down with her. If nothing else though she is a survivor and that survival is what The Corner is about. Several of the characters do not make it, Fran's desperate struggle to find a way out is at the heart of life on this particular corner.

Lead character is DeAndre McCullough played by Sean Nelson. DeAndre's story is the most interesting and it is told extremely respectfully. DeAndre has grown up in this incredibly hard environment and the choices he faces eventually lead to his outcome. The relationship with underage girlfriend Tyreeka, the bonding with his friends as they begin to coalesce into a gang, his efforts to become educated or employed, and the relatioship with his parents is explored with subtlety in this short series. Nelson's performance is absolutely excellent. He always carries the possibility of hope even as another route becomes closed and as a bleaker future appears inevitable.

The cast is quite large for a short series and that really benefits the show. Too many series are focused too narrowly on just a couple of characters. Here a community exists. Much of that commnunity is addicted to drugs and the people the McCulloughs know are mainly addicts. Perhaps foremost among them is Fat Curt played by Clarke Peters. Curt is a much more interesting character than the character of Lester Freeman that Peters plays in The Wire. Curt is arguably the leader of the addicts, being the most charismatic and intelligent of them. In a flashback he is shown as a dealer in much better times but he has fallen victim to the drug game himself and is now as decrepit as most.

There are occasional symbols of hope. While Blue may be quite a minor character in the tale, his story is at least a little uplifting but it is couched entirely in the idea that only 1 in 10 who make it as far as quitting will ever maintain that success.

What makes The Corner work so very well is that the people in the tale are given the audience's full view. The directing style sits the viewer almost inside the community in the same way that the best parts of The Wire did. This makes for a slow start as was the case for The Wire but the pacing is really outstanding. There is a real feel of the place, the filth, the violence, and the desperation. Being alongside these characters helps greatly with the immersion.

One of the few errors in The Corner is the opening scene of each of the episodes. Each episode starts with the interview of a particular character, typically focussed on asking about the McCulloughs, especially Gary McCullough. This is probably to convey the reality of the discussions that took place to form the original book. However, it is clearly false and a bit amateurish as the suspension of disbelief is almost impossible. Fortunately once the opening scene is over, the rest of the show is tremendous.

The use of flashbacks to tell parts of the story is also a mistake. Flashbacks are rarely a good idea in a production so grounded in reality. They do help to advance charater and plot quickly but they also break the flow and the immersion. They are good in that they help the audience to understand how they are supposed to feel about a particular character at a particular time but it would have been so much more effective for those reveals to have been conveyed without breaking the action.

Some parts of The Corner are very graphic and not for the faint-hearted. Gary McCullough is shown injecting heroin in close-up. This is not a sanitised production and that adds to the gripping feel of it all. The chronic illness among many of the addicts is also present and is especially horrific in the form of abscesses.

There are many similarities between The Corner and The Wire including the high quality directing style and the subject matter as well as many actors who appear in both. There are some differences though and notably the biggest difference is that The Corner is about a community of addicts where The Wire was more about the two communties of police and dealers. Drug dealing is ever present in The Corner but it is not the focus, the focus is on the users. This has the additional effect that the violence is much less common. The body count in The Wire is enormous but more characters die from drug use than from violence in The Corner.

There are no Extras on The Corner DVD set. There is one Bonus at the end of the final episode. The Bonus is a real-life interview with the people that inspired the characters of Fran, DeAndre, Tyreeka, and Blue. This is a good Bonus as it reinforces the reality of the situation. While the real people might be much less engaging than the TV characters (especially Blue) it adds a layer of pathos that colours the entire retrospect in remembering what these people have been through.

The song at the end of each episode is awesome. While arguably not as good as the Blind Boys of Alabama version of Way Down in the Hole, the song by Corey Harris of The Devil Lives on Fayette is really excellent.

The Corner is too short and has the occasional feel of a pilot to The Wire. However, in its own right it is a gripping production telling a heart-wrenching story. The quality of the performances is high and the tone is generally spot-on. It isn't The Wire but it is a must have for fans of that great series.
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The Corner: The Complete Mini Series [DVD] [2000] [2009]
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