Never Die Alone

Rated 2.0 When a drug dealer (DMX) is fatally stabbed on the street, he turns his worldly goods, including a tape-recorded autobiography, over to an aspiring writer (David Arquette), who drove him to the hospital in a vain attempt to save his life. Director Ernest Dickerson’s film (written by James Gibson, from Donald Goines’ novel) is harsh, unpleasant and ugly to look at, but it’s compulsively watchable, and the story—though admittedly farfetched and melodramatic—is hard to turn away from. Ultimately, though, the film is unsatisfying; DMX’s character (whether from the writing or DMX’s monotone acting) gains no insight into his own destruction, not even when speaking from beyond the grave. He goes to cremation (symbolically, to hell) with no more inkling of the evil he’s done than he had when he was alive.