Monday, 21 February 2011

Do The Right Thing (1989)

Thought provoking - 4/5
So I saw this film called "Do The Right Thing'. My first Spike Lee film and it was definitely enjoyable. It basically tells the story of the hottest day of the year in a suburb of Brooklyn, with separate story lines that merge and come together. We see the day from different racial perspectives including the black community whose protagonist, Mookie, provides Spike Lee with his very understated acting role. We also see the stereotypical Italian pizzeria family, led by Sal Fragione who was brilliantly played by Danny Aiello. The film also paved the way for both Rosie Perez and surprisingly, Martin Lawrence. So we're beginning to think a mix of races like 'Crash', but with more laughs and the classic Brooklyn attitude thrown in.Commonly listed as one of the greatest films of all time, and described as a significant cultural film by the U.S Library of Congress, we can see how important this film really is.
As previously stated, the film contains a combination of different story lines based on the individual characters. However, what Lee cleverly does is tie each story together with a common character. He doesn't say much, but Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn) is a pivotal character. With his boombox constantly thumping out Public Enemy's 'Fight the Power' he manages to annoy just about everyone. It is this character who provides the culturally sensitive ending. After a fight with the Italians in which his boombox gets destroyed, the police are called to the scene and Radio Raheem is killed in the melee. This causes a violent attack by the predominantly black crowd on the pizzeria and the subsequent lighting on fire of said building. This film certainly provides a form of social commentary and you can see Lee's frustration towards black injustice spilling out onto the screen. Quite suitably, the film ends with quotes from both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X; showing Spike Lee's mixed feelings towards both peaceful and violent protests against oppression.

Would I recommend it? Have a quick history lesson and then go for it. See what you notice.


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