Do the Right Thing Reviews
I'm not saying anything new when I say that this is a classic. From what I have seen and read of Spike Lee's oeuvre(which I'll admit is not nearly enough), this seems to be the most accessible of his works. It's bold and unapologetically black, but warm and funny with a dash of heaviness to it - basically, it's a Spike Lee joint.
The dialogue is snappy and even-paced and the characters are memorable - I remember reading somewhere that even the heat itself seems like it s own character; in the background, always lurking and prodding the tension. I think one of my favorite things about this is that it seems like a small snapshot of a time and place and when it's over, life goes on; it was just a two hour look. At times it's like we're listening in on small-talk conversations that aren't necessarily riviting but interesting nonetheless. Sometimes I'm in the mood for movies that are driven by "unimportant" talk.
I was seven when this movie came out, so I don't know first hand how 'Do the Right Thing' was received. I know that it is a reaction to the very real-life racial tensions that existed then and certainly exist now. If ever white America needed evidence that ugly racism and police brutality in the inner-city are nothing new (you may be surprised by how many people think "this whole anti-police attitude" is a new thing), this could be exhibit A.
I mean, what year was this movie made? Because, it goes without saying that the last 15 minutes could have taken place in 1969 just as much as it could in 1989, just as it could (and has) in 2016.
1989!! Brooklyn, on a hot summer day. Oh, but first, Spike Lee takes the time to introduce one of hip-hop's all-time greatest songs, Public Enemy's "Fight the Power," to the world in its full three-verse glory, while female dancers break it down like a revolution were about to burst through their souls. Okay, Spike(R), I am ready. Brooklyn, on a hot summer day. We see a small chunk of a neighbourhood, almost entirely black in its community. Exceptions include a favourite pizzeria named Sal's, owned by, you guessed it, an Italian-American Sal (Danny Aiello), and a grocery store owned by a recently immigrated Korean family. On the morning of this day, tensions between everybody seem normal, in that any anger is primarily released between people of the same race. This provides us with the comedic portion of the script. The relationship between Da Mayor (Ossie Davis), local old drunk, and Mother Sister (Ruby Dee), local old crazy, is very playful in how they express their resentment. The fact that the actors were married in real life might have helped. Main character Mookie (Spike Lee) and his girlfriend Tina (Rosie Perez) quarrel with one another constantly; this may come from Mookie's historically irresponsible attitude about everything -- parenting, working, loving, and, arguably, standing up for himself when appropriate. Throughout the day, we hear the optimism of the local radio host (Samuel Jackson), the stuttered soliciting of Smiley (Roger Smith), and the industrial funk of Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn) and his loop of Public Enemy's "Fight the Power." Mookie works for Sal's pizzeria as a delivery boy, and during his travels around the block, he encounters these localized tropes over and over, not fully aware of the resentment building inside everyone against one another. No one except Buggin Out (Giancarlo Esposito), who has no qualms in confronting Sal about the lack of a single black person on the establishment's wall of fame, has any clue of what such containment can lead one to do.
As the sun goes down and the moon and artificial lights brighten the nightly streets, stakes rise higher and higher. Each race continues to confide in one another for peace, escapism, agreement, strategy. Spike Lee does not blame any particular group for that. He blames everyone, but he also forgives everyone. Biologically, we are inclined to confide in those we trust the most. Those people tend to be those that we grew up with or raised, and from there, we cling to those who look like people we grew up with. It is practically inevitable, when we are not conscious about it. That is what is so illuminating about Do the Right Thing. This is a wake-up call that has been ringing for the entire duration of the movie, but we may not even notice until huge tragedy strikes. And when it does strike, everything I love about this movie hit me at once: the humanity, the political enlightenment, the urgency, the despair, the optimism. A masterpiece of art like this is not easy to find. With all due credit to the craftsmanship of director and screenwriter Spike Lee, this may have more to do with the industry's desire to reject works like this for being too confrontational. Personally, I live for facing confrontation.
personalities and groups. I have been in families and teams mad and with mixed feelings and trying to do the right thing to keep the relationships and dialogue going, to keep from yelling, conflict or cutoff, sivorce dissolution or harm. but I've never lived in a neighborhood so heated like this block. I've been privileged that way.
The only character I felt for was Sal, Danny Aiello is a superb actor. I'm not sure if we're supposed to like the main character Mookie, tbh. Some of the dialogue (especially by Mister Senor Love Daddy and the three old men sitting around) is hilarious with great flow, but a lot of times, for example when tempers run hot, the lines people yell at each other are clichéd and carry no meaning.
Stunning film about multiple race hardships in undisclosed side of Brooklyn. One of those rare great films that has the power to pierce your soul. Little film put director Spike Lee on the map and is one of the best and most important American films ever made.