Jessie's Review of Do the Right Thing
Do the Right Thing(1989)
Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing is a film depicting racial struggles between whites, blacks, hispanics, and Asians, on a particularly hot day in a New York neighborhood. This was my first time watching a Spike Lee piece, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I didn't even know what it was about because I didn't read the summary on the DVD case. They tell me too much and I like to not know what's going to happen, you know? Yeah.
Wow. I was very impressed with this film. I really have not seen anything like it. Sure, I've seen a bunch of films about racism, but never like this one. Usually they "point the finger," usually they come out and just say, "This is ____'s fault!" But this film didn't. It was told with equalizing grace. Lee managed to say that all of these colors contributed to the tension between them, that it was their shared duty to create a peaceful environment. It showed people causing problems with each other, and it showed them getting along. It was a very balanced film.
I love Lee's energy. Not as his character, but through the environment he captured on film. The world is so colorful, and the colors so vivid! And his camera angles? Ahh! There's such a variety and each one enhances the scene it's capturing. It's very entertaining to watch, and very lively. It's funny, it's tragic, it's annoying, it's frustrating, it's great. It really got a reaction out of me and everyone I watched it with. That's good cinema.
I didn't grow up in New York, so I can't really say if the characters represent New Yorkers accurately, but they reinforced the perception I already had of them. They seemed really convincing to me. They were always yelling. Haha. It was really funny. The acting was very good. I thought everyone did a pretty good job. The weakest performance I noted was by Spike Lee himself as Mookie. He was good most of the time, but at points when he needed to express sadness, he just looked apathetic and bored. The girl who played his sister was flat to me, but she was all right. Everyone else performed nicely.
I thought the emotional components of this film were perfect. There was just enough, in my opinion, and it was presented beautifully. There are very profound points in the film, where it's almost as if the characters are reading poetry. Sometimes that can be a distracting technique in communicating an idea, but Lee executed it very well.
Some might say it's cliche, but I disagree. I've seen stories depicting racism, I've seen stories with similar characters, but I have never seen this message said this way. I thought it was very deep, beautiful, poignant. I was very impressed. I really recommend it, and I hope to own it someday!