Summer of Sam Reviews
Vinny: Divorce is fuckin' evil, Ritchie. You got some fuckin' really bad advice.
Ritchie: Evil spelled backwards is live.
Vinny: You're a corny fuck, you know that?
A Spike Lee joint, set during the incredibly hot summer of 1977 in New York City. This was the summer that the serial killer known as the Son of Sam was targeting brunette women around the city. This movie uses that fact as a backdrop and is more focused on the drama involving a few main characters and some themes involving how people look at others due to the murders.
John Leguizamo and Mira Sorvino are a married couple. Leguizamo constantly cheats on his wife, working as a hair dresser in the Bronx. His best friend, played by Adrien Brody, is a newly turned punk, with outfits causing concern from the residents of his Italian-American neighborhood.
Among the many other Lee cast familiars, we do also get many scenes involving "Sam" and the so-called instructions he received from a dog to kill people.
[Dog is barking and the Son of Sam is sobbing and trembling]
Son of Sam: How did you get in here? Leave me alone! What do you want?
Harvey the Black Dog: I want you to go out and kill. Kill.
Son of Sam: No -
Harvey the Black Dog: Kill!
[the Son of Sam is still trembling]
Harvey the Black Dog: KILL!
Son of Sam: [murmurs something inaudible] I will kill. I will... I'll do anything you say. I'll do anything you say! Yes, master! I will kill! I WILL KILL!
Being a Spike Lee film, we get all sorts of social commentary centered around the times, as well as a variety of different filming techniques emphasizing the various elements of the film.
The movie is also an extremely hard R, with non-stop cursing, sexuality, and detailed violence to portray the murders. Not necessarily unusual for a Lee film or a film with this kind of topic, but notable.
While lengthy, at 140 minutes, to me it is a very watchable movie. Its well made, features a large cast, and makes good use out of its setting.
Anthony: Yeah, they suck really good. Just like you, Ruby.
Ritchie: Come on. Relax.
Ruby: Yeah, I learned from your mother, dick.
Anthony: You gonna let your sister talk that way to me?
Brian: She's my half-sister.
Ritchie: Come on. Get lost.
John Leguizamo can be very good in the right roles, Brody is solid as usual, and Mira Sorvino should seriously get more roles, specially the ones that require her to appear in lingerie. The rest of the supporting cast was also spot on.
Spike Lee is a master at using popular disco tracks and 1970's replica to recreate the New York atmosphere. He even uses play by play commentary, a scene where The Son Of Sam goes out at night to look for victim to destroy, playing in the background is the baseball commentator who mentions Reggie Jackson scored a home run. SOS is more of an outsider's POV, a lot of cliche's is evident, even the cinematography is rather distracting. The character Son Of Sam David Berkowitz is another flaw and would have worked better if the Son of Sam had been left as a presence rather than made into an actual character. Overall it's a good picture.