A "clocker" is a petty urban drug dealer. The grim realities of clockers' lives provides the basis for this gritty drama from filmmaker Spike Lee that offers a potent message calling for poor urban blacks to quit fighting each other. The story centers on Strike, a 19-year old drug dealer who is first seen hanging out with his buddies and doing a little business on a bench in the Brooklyn projects. The trouble really begins when Strike agrees to help out the local drug lord Rodney by killing one of his rivals. The murder occurs, but the actual killer is never shown. Later Strike's serious, hard-working brother Victor confesses to the crime. That should be the end of that, but it isn't,as homicide detective Rocco Klein doesn't buy Victor's confession for a second. The policeman becomes obsessed with the case and his partner Larry goes along for the ride. Klein then begins harassing his real suspect, Strike. The constant badgering makes it difficult for Spike to conduct his business, and eventually, even his own pals begin to suspect him of the killing. Spike is further harassed by both a black cop and Rodney, who doesn't want Spike horning in on his territory. … More
Related News & Features
Digital Multiplex: Cockneys vs Zombies, Olympus Has Fallen and More
– Rotten Tomatoes
Trailer Bulletin: Freedomland
– Rotten Tomatoes
No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.Login
Critic Reviews for Clockers
There is a force and focus in Lee's work, an absence of intellectual posturing and a willingness to let his material speak for itself that he has not achieved before.
The performances are strong, but the spectator often feels adrift in an overly busy intrigue.
A study of the urban dope-dealing culture and its toll on everyone who comes in contact with it, the picture has an insider's feel that is constantly undercut by the filmmaker's impulse to editorialize.
The result is a more sober, mournful and meditative expressionism than you'd expect. That's not to say the film isn't suspenseful, but the director's distaste for the inner city's gun culture is clear to see. Superbly acted.
Helping make these points is as strong a cast as Lee has yet worked with.
Has the strengths of Spike Lee's best work without the preachiness and gimmicky camera moves of his weakest.
Clockers leaves you with a sense of aching sadness, a regretful melancholy for the lives that have been blasted and the wrong decisions that have been made. Once again, Spike Lee has done the right thing.
Lee's film never recaptures the impact of the opening credit sequence, a grimly deglamorized tableaux of real-life crime scenes.
Spike Lee gets a good perfromance from newcomer Phifer as the young crack dealer, but the movie is diffuse, paying too much attention to the urban environment and not enough to the personas and dilemmas of the central characters.
Clockers is messy and didactic, but it's complex in a way that a tidy film can't be.
Sub-par Spike Lee
One of the best films of the 90's....a knockout
Decent urban drama.
A trilha sonora intrusiva acaba cansando, mas o filme se sobressai graças à complexidade de seus personagens.
A too-passive lead character sinks this otherwise interesting film.
Spike Lee brings a signature edge and richness to his film images, but must a filmmaker's distinctive style be so heavy that it interferes with the story itself?
Strong performances are reason enough for the audience to endure 129 minutes of Clockers.
A heartfelt but badly unfocused slice-of-urban life from Spike Lee. Depressingly typical of the director's efforts of late.
Audience Reviews for Clockers
Based on a novel by Richard Price, who co-wrote the script with director Spike Lee, this is a grim and gritty look at how a police procedural affects the residents of an inner city neighborhood during the aftermath of a murder and the subsequent investigation.
There are many players here, but the film predominately follows Strike (Mekhi Phifer)- a "clocker" or street-level drug dealer who works for businessman/supplier Rodney Little (Delroy Lindo). Though Rodney had illegal business dealings, he is also shown to be a mentor to the local youth, and he does give them guidance and opportunities, even if they aren't necessarily the most positive of things.
Strike finds himself in deep when he gets involved in the investigation of the murder of one of Rodney's rivals- a man Strike was told to get rid off. While the film does eventually reveal the truth, the bulk of the story probes whether or not Strike actually committed the murder. Besides pressure from Rodney, fellow clockers, and his own conscience, Strike also has to deal with the main cops on the case, played by Harvey Keitel and John Turturro.
This seems like a nice, simple, intimate story, and I would have been thrilled had it just stuck to being that. Instead, this small story is blown up, and used as merely a driving force in a broader story about the trials and tribulations of inner city life, specifically the issue of black on black crime.
I'm not as thrilled that this film was expanded into a lengthy epic, but I don't think that's a major issue. By having the film become so drawn out and broad, things tend to lose steam and focus from time to time, and the meandering leads to the grit and intensity losing their edge once in a while. But, when the film is on target, it's really on target, and makes for some compelling, well done, and entertaining cinema.
It's a decently well shot film, and the art direction and set design are suitably grimy, gritty, and show the plight of people in the inner city. An issue that really gets to me though is the music. Sometimes it's fine, but at others, it really clashes and sticks out. I'm all for ironic uses of music, but it's not really done all that well here, and seems kinda corny.
We do get some good performances though, and the themes and ideas are well established, but then again, I'd expect no less from Lee. The film does have its problems, but I don't think they're egregious enough to keep me from giving it the grade that I am.
You have to be in the right frame of mind, but if you can tap into this film's groove, and are wanting a broad tale, then sure, give this a look.
"See, dis is where all da money at, ma lil nigga. how you think i got dat fat-ass train set ova dere?"More
It's enjoyable at times, but it was a lot more of a small scope compared to Lee's other movies. When it wants to be political it's too obvious, but the rest of the movie is just a mediocre crime drama. Harvey Keitel, John Turturro and Mekhi Phifer all gave great performances, but then again Isaiah Washington was horrible. Really it's only interesting to people who are Spike Lee completists or fans of the individual stars. Otherwise, there's a lot better handled projects out there.More
Discuss Clockers on our Movie forum!