Directing duo’s are hard to come by in cinema these days. There are some, like the Coen brothers, Phil Lord & Chris Miller, the Russo brothers, but for the most part they remain an anomaly. One of the more successful directing teams in the cinematic world today is the Hughes brothers.


Albert and Allen Hughes are twins who have been directing films and videos together since 1993. Born in Detroit, the brothers were raised by a single mother who supported their ambitions no matter what they were. She bought them a camera when they were young, and they haven’t stopped making films since.


At the age of 18, the brothers dropped out of high school in order to work on music videos. They built a name for themselves doing videos, and even worked for the rapper Tupac Shakur.  Having been established as directors, Albert and Allen were able to make their first feature film. Menace II Society, a film about a young criminal, was released in 1993 and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. It opened to rave reviews and managed to land a spot on Siskel & Ebert’s top ten list for 1993. This was an enormous honor coming from two of the biggest and most successful critics of all time in a year stacked year with movies.


In their subsequent films, the Hughes brothers continued to explore crime in a variety of ways. Dead Presidents follows the lives of Vietnam war veterans who are neglected by their country upon returning home, and forced to turn to crime in order to survive.  Their documentary American Pimp takes a look at the pimp culture in the United States, and examines the legality of prostitution. From Hell, a film that is wildly different from their previous efforts, is an adaptation of the Allan Moore graphic novel about Jack the Ripper. These films each take a look at crime, but don’t at all feel contrived due to the diversity of material.


For the next nine years the brothers remained dormant, at least in the feature film-making world. They worked on TV projects during those years, before returning with the film The Book of Eli. A motion picture that received middling reviews.


Recently, the brothers have had a small parting of ways, with Allen releasing his first solo-feature last year. Both are attempting to start something of a solo career, but they’re sure to direct together again at some point in the future.


Have you seen any Hughes brother’s movies? What do you think? Let me know in the comments section.