BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new film about to be released on HBO Max depicts a Baltimore teen facing some tough decisions; a life of crime, or a long walk on the straight and narrow.

In “Charm City Kings,” actor Jahi Di’Allo Winston plays “Mouse”, a city kid raised on the streets of west Baltimore.

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“I just wanted to show the humanity in marginalized communities specifically in Baltimore,” Winston said.

Written by Baltimore native Jada Pinkett Smith, the film shows the harsh reality for some inner-city kids and the choices they have to make: often it’s the “right way” or the easy way.

Hollywood director Angel Manuel Soto said while shooting in Baltimore, he was reminded of where he grew up: Puerto Rico

“The people and the community reminded me a lot of home,” he said. “Same amazing passion and hospitable, beautiful people. That’s the charm in Charm City.”

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Soto said the film couldn’t have been shot anywhere else because the city became a character in the plot and the bikers had talent like he’s never seen.

“I’ve never seen somebody tap dance on a wheelie with no hands, like how do you do that?” he said.

Soto said a “solid identity resides within the people of Baltimore”, and they drive the film.

“Baltimore is way more than the vilifications it gets,” Soto said. “The people are what makes Baltimore very, very special.”

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You can stream the film Charm City Kings starting on Thursday, October 8, on HBO Max.

Rachael Cardin