Thursday, June 7, 2007

Do the Right Thing (1989)

Directed by Spike Lee. Starring Danny Aiello, Spike Lee, Ossie Davis, and John Turturro.

Spike Lee has been one of the more controversial figures in American cinema for the past two decades, and this, his best film, is also his most inflammatory. Much of the controversy comes from his evenhanded treatment of the film's dozen or so main characters, none of whom are heroes but rather flawed and often selfish individuals. On the hottest day of summer in a Brooklyn neighborhood, tensions begin to rise between races and generations until everything explodes in a riot that leads to the death of a young man and a destruction of a business. What makes this film a masterpiece, in my opinion, is that no one is a villain, but each character acts according to his or her nature, and those who saw the film as an incitement to riot weren't paying attention.

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