Clockers - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Clockers Reviews

Page 1 of 24
October 26, 2017
Spike Lee in Euro-auteur mode. Lots to like, plenty to dislike too, but definitely worth seeing. Keitel is at his very best, with nothing to prove. A pitch perfect performance. The rest of the cast is very good. Delroy Lindo is another standout. The changing film stocks with occasionally blown-out or supersaturated cinematography. The extreme close up on the reflection in an eyeball.... Lee mixes expressionism with the grittiest kind of realism and then gets unapologetically preachy and didactic at moments, and for me, it all worked. Lee's arty moves with the camera are intriguing. He earns his right to preach with the strong realism that lets no one off the hook. Lee creates a sympathetic portrait of a young drug dealer without apologizing for him, or excusing him, or his environment. He creates a portrait of inner city narcotics and homicide detectives that is unsparing, but not unfair. So why not 5 stars? Because for all the brilliance on display around the frame of things -- the story in the center isn't told with real dramatic intensity. Richard Price's book on which the movie is based is a gripping unforgettable read. On the page, Strike and his brother, the other creatures of the hood, you care about them, you sweat their fear with them. Lee doesn't get there. Fans of the book who see Clockers should know that it's set in Brooklyn, not Jersey across the river, and that important characters are altogether missing (no Buddha Hat, for example!) but nevertheless to expect something similar to the book, with as convincing a documentary feel to some of the dialogue and interactions. But they shouldn't expect the same edge of their seat experience that Price's brilliant book provided.
September 8, 2017
Some movie are meant to be seen and some only seen once for me.
April 26, 2016
Drug dealer agrees to kill the rival of a local crime lord in this gritty look at New York City's darker side.
½ April 16, 2016
Spike Lee is an unfortunate instance of a very talented filmmaker who's
obvious talent in craftsmanship doesn't come across in contemporary
mainstream cinema because of issues having nothing to do with cinema
itself. I realize that in becoming great at anything in one's life,
other things have to suffer, and with him it seems, at least to me,
that for everything he has undoubtedly accomplished in the filmic
realm, it's created a type of 'idiot savant' (it's simply an existing
term--I certainly don't mean it pejoratively)--that is, in social
skills, at least pertaining to self-marketing, or getting across one's
persona in the field, he is lacking--and it negatively impacts his
cinema. And that's a dirty rotten shame, because this was a fine film.

He and his excellent approach to cinema remind me of the Heisenberg
principle and make me: a) wish Lee could find more happiness in his
life, so that he can come across better, and thus have his personality
not negatively influence cinephiles like me; and b) wonder, like in 'A
Beautiful Mind', if he was happier and more pleasant, if it would
negatively impact his filmmaking? Philosophical questions such as this tend to keep me up at night, unless I have some red wine, milk or chamomile tea to wear me out and soothe me.

'Clockers' worked for me. Keitel was really on a roll when he worked in this, with 'Bad Lieutenant', 'Reservoir Dogs', 'Pulp Fiction' and 'Smoke' all around this time. It was certainly a great vintage for him, and a fine time to sample his acting.
½ April 16, 2016
Spike Lee is an unfortunate instance of a very talented filmmaker who's
obvious talent in craftsmanship doesn't come across in contemporary
mainstream cinema because of issues having nothing to do with cinema
itself. I realize that in becoming great at anything in one's life,
other things have to suffer, and with him it seems, at least to me,
that for everything he has undoubtedly accomplished in the filmic
realm, it's created a type of 'idiot savant' (it's simply an existing
term--I certainly don't mean it pejoratively)--that is, in social
skills, at least pertaining to self-marketing, or getting across one's
persona in the field, he is lacking--and it negatively impacts his
cinema. And that's a dirty rotten shame, because this was a fine film.

He and his excellent approach to cinema remind me of the Heisenberg
principle and make me: a) wish Lee could find more happiness in his
life, so that he can come across better, and thus have his personality
not negatively influence cinephiles like me; and b) wonder, like in 'A
Beautiful Mind', if he was happier and more pleasant, if it would
negatively impact his filmmaking? Philosophical questions such as this tend to keep me up at night, unless I have some red wine, milk or chamomile tea to wear me out and soothe me.

'Clockers' worked for me. Keitel was really on a roll when he worked in this, with 'Bad Lieutenant', 'Reservoir Dogs', 'Pulp Fiction' and 'Smoke' all around this time. It was certainly a great vintage for him, and a fine time to sample his acting.
March 27, 2016
Harvey Keitel steals this but the surrounding story and characters break it up. Turturro and Keitel went well together but didn't have enough scenes together to prove their chemistry.
January 30, 2016
A great Spike Lee movie with excellent performances from Mekhi Phifer, Harvey Keitel, John Turturro, Isaiah Washington and Delroy Lindo make it a thought-provoking film you can't help but watch!!!!
August 16, 2015
One of my favorite Spike Lee joints and one of his most underrated. Powerful Stuff!!
½ August 10, 2015
one of Spike Lee's most compelling films.
August 7, 2015
Another power house spike lee joint! Well acted, superbly directed and flawlessly soundtracked this film is one of the high points of Spike Lees work along with Do The Right Thing. Would highly recommend
March 25, 2015
Good film, spike lee at it again
February 24, 2015
The subject that Lee exploit no doubt all Americans will admit true and never would stop. What ever Lee's joints made so far will make us jaw drop where it is fairly rated or underrated.
½ February 6, 2015
Lee's ambitious adaptation of Richard Price's novel has all the ingredients to be an instant classic, from a great cast to relevant subject matter. Unfortunately, the lukewarm script keeps it from being better-than-average, but this movie will most likely go down as a precursor to HBO's The Wire (which all of you should see).
½ February 1, 2015
Funny how many of the people who worked on this went on to work on The Wire, which retroactively made most of the '90s Ghetto Hollywood pictures look like princess fairy tales. Still, Lee makes it work it spite of his style not really matching the material, Blanchard's typically dreadful music, and Phifer's pretty one-note and uncharismatic performance. Some really great scenes help balance out some of the more cringe-worthy stuff.
December 7, 2014
Lee handles melodrama about as gracefully as an after-school special. Even with a decent plot, bundles of style, and timely themes, Lee just can?t get the awful dialogue and poor acting out of the way?.and if I never hear a Seal song again, it will be too soon. A heavy-handed bummer.
November 30, 2014
I wanted to revisit The Wire after re-watching this. Lindo as always is on fire as is Keitel and Turturro but it is the legend that is Keith David who's the daddy in this.
October 7, 2014
The 1990's were a decade rich with young black filmmakers making a splash with a lot of impressive and important movies, but no one spoke louder than Spike Lee well into that time period and beyond. Even his misfires were more interesting than a lot of director's successes, and "Clockers" is a little-seen but vital piece of work that delves so much deeper into the gangster lifestyle than a dozen other similar projects.

Lee and screenwriter Richard Price is more interested in exploring the power struggle involved in life on the streets, exploring the story of two brothers in the same situation but each with a very different way of dealing with it. Isaiah Washington is the family man, shunning the criminal lifestyle in favor of working two menial jobs while his sibling (the exceptional Mekhi Phifer) earns the easy money working for a crime boss.

There are a lot of outside sources swaying them in different directions in the form of Delroy Lindo as the drug lord and Keith David as a local cop who cares about the people he serves adding to the richness of the story. Rather than focus on the expected and gratuitous violence, the mood here is more melancholy and Lee is a master of choosing just the right music to fit the mood. It's exceptional here.

Because of the combined efforts of the director, the writer and the seasoned cast, "Clockers" is so much more than just another gang picture. Like so many others Spike Lee Joints, this has something to say.
½ September 9, 2014
Thriller (trop) consensuel.
August 29, 2014
So good! My favorite Spike movie, easy. Produced by Scorsese.
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