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The Life of Rayful Edmond - Rise and Fall Vol. 1
The Life of Rayful Edmond - Rise and Fall Vol 1
Actor: Maurce Elmalem
Director: Maurce Elmalem
Genres: Action & Adventure, Documentary
R     2007     0hr 55min

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Movie Details

Actor: Maurce Elmalem
Director: Maurce Elmalem
Genres: Action & Adventure, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Martial Arts, Documentary
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 03/22/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 0hr 55min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Give Me a Break!
C. Baker | Washington, DC | 08/09/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Rayful Edmond III probably is the most notorious drug dealer in Washington, D.C. history. In the early 90's when he was arrested for running a criminal enterprise the trial riveted the area, or at least me. From news accounts he started drug dealing at an early age - in fact his entire family has a history of organized criminal activity dating back to the fifties. I read a newspaper account that claimed he was bagging cocaine for his father at the tender age of 3.

This docudrama uses news clips, interviews with Edmond associates and undercover cops, televised interviews with Edmund himself, and reenactments to tell Edmond's life story. For the most part it is okay but the choice of music is sometimes questionable and the arrest scene staged for this film was a bit silly and overblown.

This docudrama appears to be told from the point of view of Rayful Edmond. It tries to make Edmond out really not to be that bad of a guy. His associates describe him as a peaceful, fun loving guy throwing money around to all his friends and neighbors. For example, he settled a violent gang war because it was hurting both his business and the rival gang's. And all those witnesses schedule to appear at this trial that got murdered? That was somebody else not Edmond! Give me a break! This guy had connections to the Columbian drug lords and was crafty enough to broker drug deals from jail. I find it incredulous to claim he didn't have anything to do with witnesses getting knocked off or that he wasn't part of all the violence that gripped DC because of drugs in the late `80s and early `90s (and still does today).

So I have to give this so called documentary a thumbs down. It seems too slanted toward making the best case possible that Rayful Edmond was just a guy with a different line work. If it had told this story and the other side of the story then I'd sing its praises, because who knows? Maybe there is more to Edmond than news accounts make him out to be. But this documentary certainly doesn't make a very convincing case for it."
"the Babe Ruth of crack dealers?" | Texas | 03/27/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

directed by Kirk Fraser
approx. 75 minutes

This is probably the best of the recent slew of documentaries on high profile drug dealers. Rayful Edmond was the biggest drug dealer in the history of Washington, D.C. His family had been involved in illegal activities when he was a youngster and this laid the path for his own "career path". In the cocaine explosion of the mid 1980s he reportedly made $300,000,000 a year distributing poison to Americans including many within his own community.

We see the "rise" of Edmond's rapid accumulation of material goods and expansion of his "operation". He bought several expensive cars and gambled thousands of dollars "as a joke". It covers his closest friends who became instrumental in his arrest and ultimately testified against him in court and the ridiculous trial. The epilogue states that while incarcerated, Edmond became involved with the notorious Medellin drug cartel (which was itself connected to CIA asset Barry Seal.) Perhaps it is not a shock that in order to help his mother get out of prison he became a government informant.

I will say one thing which is that the story has a lot less glamorized violence than other similar stories. In clips from the TV news show "DATELINE", Edmond seems remorseful and says he wasn't trying to get anybody killed but that he didn't have the foresight of that aspect of his "business". He seems sincere that he wasn't trying to get anybody murdered but of course he was the "king" of selling a toxic substance to drug addicts. In the special features, the director and producer state that they are trying to show people the error of Edmond's ways and that there are other options besides drug dealing. Whether you think they succeed or not, it at least shows more self-awareness than other similar DVDs.

The movie is very well made in that it cuts between "dramatizations" and interviews with Raymond's former associates and people at various levels of law enforcement who were on the Edmond case. The makers of this DVD went the extra mile to get the news footage from the time and various interviews with Edmond. The music is mostly repetitive ambient music similar to the TV show 'UNSOLVED MYSTERIES". Occasionally there is sort of religious sounding music (for example in the arrest scene) which is intended to make the turning points of the story seem like major events in history. Edmond seems like a smart man, I wonder what he could've accomplished if he had chosen a different path. I will check for Kirk Fraser's movies in the future."
Terrible Documentary
David Rusk | Austin, TX | 10/20/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I watch alot of documentaries and this is by far the worst I have ever seen. I looked forward to watching it being somewhat familiar with Rayful's story but this dvd is just not made very well. This is an hour of reenactments. The story told in this dvd is so one sided. There is so much left I was left wondering why?
There is a quote at the end of the film that is almost comical basically saying the producers did not want to glorify drug dealing. If you do not want to glorify drug dealing try showing all the bad that came out of all the drugs in D.C. at the time.
I read that Kirk Fraser the maker of this film dropped out of film school at Howard University after watching this I think he should have stayed in school. This looks like it was made by a high school kid."
What a waste of telling a GOOD STORY
S. Johnson | va | 12/20/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I'm from DC so I know how the story went. A lot of details were left out. A lot of things were highly exaggerated. None of the actors (especially the guy who played Rayful) looked like the people they were playing, his arrest did NOT go down like that, no one was wearing ALL-DAZ clothing BACK THEN and they never mentioned anything interesting about Rayful that people don't already know his sexuality.

With a little more planning, better casting and creative advice from established Directors this documentary could have been a whole lot better.

Since this is Kirk's first documentary he'll get a pass."