The film for people who don’t like Spike Lee’s other films.
During the sweltering summer of 1977, the notorious killer Son of Sam set New York City on fire, and a chance encounter with the homicidal maniac sends the life of a philandering Bronx hairdresser named Vinny (John Leguizamo) spinning out of control. As the authorities hunt the killer, Vinny’s life unravels amid a haze of suspicion, drugs and promiscuity.
I was surprised by this film because all of Lee’s other works are about race or politics in society. All of the other one’s also include a very large cast of black people which this one doesn’t actually I think there are only like 5 black people shown throughout the whole film, including himself. This change I liked a little bit better.
The film isn’t so much about “The Son Of Sam” himself, but more of the frightened atmosphere he created with his killings. This reminds me a lot about Do The Right Thing with less of a message. It produces some very entertaining visuals. Colors change along with the setting it takes place in and there are montages that feature some high quality looks at the city and the people who inhabit it as well. Lee shows with this film is that he knows where to put the camera and have it stay where it needs to be throughout and it is really dazzling to see him work.
The one huge problem I had with this film was that there was so much. This surely is one of Lee’s most trashy films with the “f” word used about 500 times, soft-core porn sex scenes, and violence beyond belief. It gets out of hand at points and I understand what Lee was trying to show but he shows in a way that were just disgusted.
Another thing with the film is how these characters aren’t very likable which in every Lee film he has. These characters all have a bad thing about them even if they seem normal. Everybody in this film seemed either immature or just low in society and you never feel sympathy for them cause their too busy screwing up their own lives, and really you don’t care what happens to them.
The screenplay as usual is highly entertaining, and you can tell these are real people talking, because you can see they know what’s going on and their scared but they can still add in some humor to brighten up the tone and make the film a lot better.
Performances from its main cast is very good. John Leguizamo does a good job and you can tell the frustration on his face with these killings and his urge to cheat on his wife. Most notably Adrien Brody who uncharacteristically plays the punk is the highlight as he plays a person that is fed up with the society he lives in and just wants to rebel and you can tell by through his actions and through his motives we feel fed up as well.
Consensus: With a highly energetic script, dazzling visuals, and great performances, Summer of Sam is good but too ugly for some viewers and surely not one of Lee’s best.