Clockers Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ October 30, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
December 4, 2009
"See, dis is where all da money at, ma lil nigga. how you think i got dat fat-ass train set ova dere?"
Super Reviewer
November 18, 2009
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.
Super Reviewer
½ April 26, 2007
My favorite part of this film is Lee's use of color. Through the production design and the use of reversal film stock, Clockers' colors really pop. Creating a world of vibrant colors to go along with the complexity of the situation at hand.

The film is a little bit of everything. Part cop film, part gangster, part family drama part neighborhood drama. Unfortunately the whole doesn't add up to the sum of it's parts.

Solid performances and great craftsmanship can't save this film. Not to say that it's bad, it's just remarkably unremarkable.
Super Reviewer
July 14, 2007
My favorite Spike Lee film with an amazing performance from Delroy Lindo.
Super Reviewer
June 6, 2007
A cool film by Spike Lee, if you liked Do the right thing and like films like Boyz N the hood this is a good mix of both genres. Has a slight twist and will keep you hooked throughout.
Super Reviewer
September 3, 2011
An excellent film which takes a relatively small scale incident, especially for its environment, and uses it to make larger points about senseless and cyclical violence in the projects. One of Harvey Keitel's strongest roles. It's gritty, authentic, and poignent.
Super Reviewer
November 8, 2011
Delroy Lindo as Rodney Little was amazing, what a manipulative evil fuck, as the movie progresses he goes from being a seemingly caring mentor to a complete monster. He is a crack pusher and Strike played brilliantly by Mekhi Phifer is his best seller. Warnings flags go off in Rodney's head when he sees Homicide detectives questioning his seller and he puts fear into Strike with a gun in his mouth just like Rodney's mentor Errol Barnes did to him and he lets Strike know "I am a bad man."

5 out of 5
Super Reviewer
½ September 29, 2009
Not my favourite Spike Lee, but good editing made it tighter & I think, better than the book (Rrichard Price). Truth be told, The Wire says it all better and wittier, but if you've only got 129 minutes to spare, not 45 hours, watch this one.
Super Reviewer
December 28, 2007
Quality film from Spike Lee about life in "the projects".
Super Reviewer
½ September 27, 2008
Good Spike Lee flick. This seemed to be a good exercise for Spike, and he was able to balance his typical race issues with a solid crime drama story. I wish there could have been more Delroy Lindo and John Turturro. In fact none of the characters other than Mekhi Phifer seemed all that developed, but that wasn't too bad. Overall it's not a bad Spike Lee joint but it's not a great one either.
Super Reviewer
April 8, 2008
Spike Lee's best film in my opinion. Like The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, but with a crime story thrown in. I love how Phifer's character seems like a modern businessman under a lot of stress as he becomes the main suspect in a shooting. I also loved how the liberal minded cops are made out to be bigots by immediately seeking the easy answer on a case when the real answer is staring them in the face. A movie about responsibility and misplaced idealism.
½ July 9, 2011
Dark, gritty and memorable through the direction of Spike Lee. It would of been interesting to see Martin Scorsese's version of this movie but he chose to direct Casino instead. With great performances including the debut of Mekhi Phifer. Of course the novel is always better than the adapted movie, but this was really good.
November 14, 2010
Underrated...I am a fan of most of Spike Lee's is usually very good quality and this is no exception...

A good precursor to The Wire, GOAT TV Series of the title song by Marc Dorsey - People in Search of a Life...great opening credits with the body-count and that song...
October 19, 2008
Drinking chocolate milk and selling drugs all day. I didn't know it was a harmful living until this movie.
½ September 5, 2008
Re-watched this film and found myself just as caught up in it as I was the first time. Spike Lee gives us a realistic look into the dead-end lives of inner-city youth. Great cast - I was impressed with the performance of Mekhi Phifer (a new-comer at the time), but Delroy Lindo is downright scary in his portayal of Rodney.
August 13, 2007
One of the most engaging Spike Lee joints. Part moral fable, part crime story, part coming of age film. Masterful filmmaking techniques.
½ December 18, 2006
A compelling and well-cast yet slightly uneven adaptation of the brilliant novel by Richard Price. Frankly, I'm tempted to dock an extra half star for skimping on the Yoo-Hoo license (Chocolate Moo? Come on!)
June 28, 2007
Great performances and a riveting story help bolster Clockers to it's place as one of Lee's best films.
½ May 17, 2007
I luved this spike lee joint. first time I realized I had a thing for older men(delroy Lindo) - I don't know.
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