Though I am usually not a fan of directors casting themselves as the lead character (like George Cohan in every single performance ever), I could deal with Spike Lee in Do the Right Thing. I felt like this movie was Lee’s baby, and could accept his need to play the lead character. So basically, the movie depicted a neighborhood’s racial tensions on the hottest day of the year. By the end of the movie I felt upset and frustrated, which I am positive was the desired effect.
What I found so interesting about the film was that every race shown in the film was a victim and a distributer of racism. The film had numerous cringe inducing moments, from the racist tangents, to the horrendous murder of an African American character by a police officer. Growing up in the 1990s and 2000s, I assumed that racism was a thing of the 60’s, that as a country we had evolved. However, this movie has shown that strong race tensions still exist, especially on a hot summer day.
I fully believe that the film’s strong impact is due to the amazing acting. Seriously, Danny Aiello’s performance as Sal the owner of the pizzeria was flawless. Even the secondary characters proved a vital force within the movie. I also really enjoyed the fact that secondary characters were seen throughout the movie, hidden in the background of the shots to create a strong continuity and community feel.
I just have one dilemma. Don’t the three black men sitting on the corner bitching about everything and everyone have jobs? And if they don’t shouldn’t they have jobs? I’m sure they have homes, and I’m sure they need incomes to keep those homes, and I doubt that sitting on a street corner pays well, I mean I know that standing on a street corner does.
But incase I wasn’t clear, I really liked it. And though doing the right thing seems like the natural course of action, the film showed that it is not always the easiest thing to accomplish.
Rating: 4 out of 5 of those really cool spandex shorts Spike Lee wore under his basketball shorts