Do The Right Thing (1989)

(On VHS, June 2001) You’ve got to admire Spike Lee for the way he gradually cranks up the tension in a mixed-race neighborhood over the duration of this film. On the other hand, there isn’t all that much to like in the way the tension is unleashed, giving a particularly confused impression by the time the credits roll. After a particularly pointless title sequence, a rather large cast of characters (including a small role by a young Martin Lawrence) is progressively introduced and put in relation with one another. Of course, faults run across race lines, and the sweltering weather doesn’t help one bit. It all has to blow over sooner or later, and this is when the film doesn’t make as much sense. One characters makes what seems to be a completely rash decision for no good reason, which precipitates the unavoidable conclusion. The epilogue doesn’t help, almost bending itself out of shape to avoid laying blame to anyone. But, her, what do I know about Brooklyn neighborhoods? I’m just a white guy from the suburbs.

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