I was so pissed to see how the poster for this film, totally ripped-off Anatomy of a Murder. But my temper soon calmed down as soon as I saw this movie.
Strike (Mekhi Phifer) is from the mean streets, working his way up in the drug rackets. When a local kingpin (Delroy Lindo) tips him off to an opportunity for advancement, a rival dealer is killed, and Strike gets caught between two homicide detectives (Harvey Keitel and John Turturro).
I have always been very very mixed with some of Spike Lee’s work. Sometimes, their just way too racy and themed that I can’t stand them, other times the amazing to watch, fully gripping your attention almost every second of the way. This is one of those films.
I have to say Lee does direct this to his fullest. In the beginning, the film seems like its going to fall underneath the tracks of a racial hood film. However, totally turns the other chick into being a character-driven thriller film about, well, the hood. The thing that Lee does is make this film about something, not what you see much in Hollywood today. The bullet holes in the bodies of the black men in the beginning of the film, are resurrected and given some sort of individuality, rather than just some broke-ass bluff from the street. Thank you for that Boyz N the Hood.
The film is slighlty fair-minded with its script. The script shows how all of these people are human, and not just a bunch of stupid stereotypes you see in many other hood films. You see these people for what they are, human just like you and me. The whole film shows how all these people are blocked into one world, where they have no idead what’s going on, on the outside. And the ending proves, that there is another block of the world to see. Hope I didn’t give too much away there.
However, the problem with this movie is that there are many other times where Lee depends his looks on the urban enviroment these people live in. I knew that they lived in a shitty hood, where drug deals were always going down, and people were getting constantly locked up, and I they showed that way too many times. There was a little sub-plot with another detective, trying to nab this little yuppie for drugs. Totally random, and a pointless story.
A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed the film, O, starring Clocker’s own, Mekhi Phifer. I said that he is one of the most underrated actors of all-time, and doesn’t get enough rep because he’s known for like two performances. And I will stand by that statemeant until the day I die. He gives a knock-out performance, in his first performance, I may add. Showing so much anger, but also remorse for the things that he has done, and giving us, the viewer, a great protagonist we can root for. Keitel and Turturro are great s the two detectives, and although I think their could have been more scenes dedicated to the both of them together, ehh they were good just for being in the film. Delroy Lindo is also one scary-ass dude in this film, showing that even though you don’t look like a pimp, you can be one just by the way you act. Isaiah Washington, is also quite something to talk about, since he hasn’t been for the last couple of years due to his big mouth. But he does show some great emotionally tied-down scenes here, and shows that he does have a lot of talent and heart, he just can’t stop from saying that “word”.
Consensus: Lee’s script gets a little messy, but still has great performances the wonderful cast, that can handle Lee’s direction, character-driven script, and plot twists and turns.