Jungle Fever (1991)

A love between a black man and and white woman is something that can be hated but it’s all about the love.

Flipper (Wesley Snipes) is a successful, married architect. Angie (Annabella Sciorra) is a temporary office worker. When they meet, it’s Jungle Fever. A subplot considers the problems of drug abuse, with Flipper’s brother Gator (Samuel L. Jackson) a crack addict.

Director Spike Lee (as if you couldn’t tell), his main message is that both blacks and whites in America have been so bombarded stereotypes about each other to the degree that some relationships are transpired by Jungle Fever.The movie has many scenes of uncommon power, some with sure greatness, and others that just don’t work.

Lee as usual shows a great way of handling these characters of each race and in a way that doesn’t support these stereotypes. The one thing I liked mostly about this film that I didn’t see from his others is that hes not all against the whites and he shows how blacks can be wrong in decision making too. The one strong point of this film is the strong focus that Lee puts on the family’s reactions to this relationship.

The big problem with this film is the couple itself. Lee does not focus too much on the couple and we do not feel that these two people actually like each other. Lee misses the point that he’s trying to get at with in this film and the couple don’t seem believable. The chemistry between Snipes and Sciorra is not very strong and you do not feel the connection beating off of the screen like I would imagine in a film about relationships. The attraction seems to stem entirely from curiosity, which makes the background material – the relationships of each with their families and communities – the real point of interest.

Much of the writing and editing seems very tired as well. In all of Lee’s films his way of showing these characters actions and personalities through a clever and at times true script does not work so well. The whole movie’s script is mostly just conversations about racism and how one doesn’t prefer the other race. The editing also feels kinda lackluster as many scenes were put in just to be put in and kind of had no real meaning.

This is surely a great film for many reasons however despite the downs. I liked the little inter-stories that featured Samuel L. Jackson as a struggling crack addict who brings dismay to his whole family and John Tuturro’s story as he himself looks to start a relationship with a black woman. Those stories were very interesting and very well executed by the cast and Lee. Another great factor of this film is the set pieces that are shown in this film are surely great that feature a very breathtaking look at a crack house that is very graphic but very strong.

The chemistry as I said before between Snipes and Sciorra is not very strong. Though the acting from the rest is very good. Mostly Samuel L. Jackson does an amazing job at portraying a struggling crack addict and fully shows off his amazing acting chops and his performance stand out most importantly. The rest of the cast with John Tuturro. Spike Lee, Ossie Davis, and Anthony Quinn also do very good jobs at portraying their own respectable characters.

The resolution of this film is very gloomy and doesn’t seem as effective as it has in other films from Lee and I don’t fully connect to the message he was trying to get at with.

The film shows a good look at how interracial couples are viewed as and features some very good breathtaking scenes and performances but doesn’t have a very effective message and screenplay like many others from Lee.


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