Fresh is a 1994 crime film written and directed by Boaz Yakin in his film debut, and produced by Lawrence Bender, who at the time was riding the wave of success of Reservoir Dogs. It was scored by Stewart Copeland, an ex-band member of The Police.
Marketed at the time as a hip hop 'hood film, Fresh went relatively unnoticed by the public, but won critical acclaim for being an intense and poetic drama working on different levels. It is both an emotional coming of age story and a realistic portrayal of the dangerous life in the projects - while at the same time the whole film can be seen as a metaphorical chess game.
Set in the violent and gang-ridden projects of New York City, Fresh tells the story of Michael, nicknamed Fresh (portrayed by Sean Nelson), a 12-year old kid running drugs for the local drug lords, notably Esteban (Giancarlo Esposito). Inspired by the chess lessons of his father, an alcoholic speed-chess master (Samuel L. Jackson), Fresh devises and executes a brilliant plan to extricate himself and his drug addicted sister (N'Bushe Wright) from their hopeless lives (during the film, where Fresh was threatened to be sent to a group home after his best friend is murdered, is where he began to execute his plan).
Directed by Boaz Yakin
Produced by Lawrence Bender
Written by Boaz Yakin
Starring Sean Nelson
Samuel L. Jackson
Music by Stewart Copeland
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release date(s) August 24, 1994
Running time 114 min.