Writer-director Spruil says he had been struggling to come up with a proper title for his feature, which deals with socio-economic pressures faced by young men of color in the inner city.  When one boy said, “It feels like being squeezed between two walls,” he knew he had his title.


In recent years, the youth-crime genre had been covered by many Afro-American and other films, such as “Menace II Society,” “New Jack City,” “Boyz N The Hood,” “Clockers,” and others.  “Squeeze” differs from those films by presenting a multi-ethnic clique and centering on the “routine” everyday life–what it feels like to be a young man walking down those mean streets.


The movie chronicles the nature of friendship between Tyson, an African American, Puerto Rican Hector, and Bau, a Vietnamese refuge.  Caught in a peculiar phase of life, in which they are neither children nor quite mature men, the PG-13s live in a dangerous, violent milieu.  With limited job prospects, they beg for quarters, do “red-shirt work” sweep up trash, and join the risky but well-paying drug trade.  When Tyson is forbidden to pump gas at a local station on a street controlled by Marcus' gang, he and his friends strike him.


“Squeeze” shows in detail the escalating patterns of violent revenge, based on the clique's fear of Marcus retaliation.  Tyson and his friends are struggling to act like men in world where street respect is much valued.  When threatened, they can't just pick up and move to a different neighborhood; the    “squeeze” is everywhere, in the prison or welfare system.


The film also criticizes the prominence of professional sports in the lives of young African-American men.  Basketball is perceived as one legit avenue for inner-city youngsters to improve on their lives, yet in most cases, these “hoop dreams” remain just dreams.


Shot mostly at night, “Squeeze” displays a grim, dark look, and the film's deliberate pacing just adds to the unbearable sense of tension and claustrophobia.