Ace is an impressionable young man working for a dry cleaning business. His friend, drug dealer Mitch goes to prison. In an unrelated incident, he finds some cocaine in a pants pocket. Soon, Ace finds himself dealing cocaine for Lulu. Via lucky breaks and solid interpersonal skills, Ace moves to the top of the Harlem drug world. Of course, unfaithful employees and/or rivals conspire to bring about Ace's fall.
"Paid in Full" is almost an oxymoron: a contemporary gangster movie with a level head. Loosely based on the true adventures of AZ Alpo, a legendary Harlem drug dealer who earned $50,000 a day at the height of the 80's crack epidemic and whose exploits inspired countless rap songs, this sad, touching period piece resists the temptation to glamorize its subject. Instead of a hyperbolic beat-charged urban western, it's an unpretentious, sociologically pointed slice of life. Stephen Holden
2002-10-25 | Stephen Holden | Read the New York Times Review of Paid in Full