Spike Lee's take on the "Son of Sam" murders in New York City during the summer of 1977 centering on the residents of an Italian-American Northeast Bronx neighborhood who live in fear and distrust of one another.
This film looks at life in the Bedford-Stuyvesant district of Brooklyn on a hot summer Sunday. As he does everyday, Sal Fragione opens the pizza parlor he's owned for 25 years. The neighborhood has changed considerably in the time he's been there and is now composed primarily of African-Americans and Hispanics. His son Pino hates it there and would like nothing better than to relocate the eatery to their own neighborhood. For Sal however, the restaurant represents something that is part of his life and sees it as a part of the community. What begins as a simple complaint by one of his customers, Buggin Out - who wonders why he has only pictures of famous Italian-Americans on the wall when most of his customers are black - eventually disintegrates into violence as frustration seemingly brings out the worst in everyone. Written by
The key scene when Danny Aiello and John Turturro talk alone approximately midway through the film was partly improvised. The scripted scene ended as the character Smiley approached the window. Everything after that until the end of the scene was completely ad-libbed. See more »
The story takes place at the intersection of Bedford and Stuyvesant Avenues. In reality, the two do not cross each other, however the film was shot in the Bed-Stuy section of Brooklyn. See more »
A scorching summer day brings racial tensions to their boiling point in a Brooklyn neighborhood. Seen through many points of view Spike Lee paints a convincing and critical picture of tensions in the most diverse city in the USA.
The film's strength is its ability to ring true to many sets of ears and especially if you frequent or live in a big city. You always here of events - big and small - on the news and there is usually that element of "racial tensions" or "possible racial motive." In a city where over 200 different languages are spoken (which can give you an idea of how many distinguishable cultures there are) it is only a natural ingredient for friction between people. Whether you hate the other guy, or are just annoyed that you can't understand him nor he you, when all you want to do is buy some groceries. This film shows many situations of this type and how everyone is, in a sense, innocent and guilty at the same time. If a situation gets out of hand and you have people throwing slurs at each other there is that famous expression: "he crossed the line." Well even with critical hindsight, this "line" isn't always visible and when it is, it's faint.
Spike Lee manages to show that very well and with a lot of diverse characters, hence the film being able to ring true with an equally diverse audience.
The only problem is that in today's America the issue is more about class and not just race, though race and class are intertwined. "Crash" presented the issue of class and lifestyle a little bit more thoroughly, but in the end felt preachy and unrealistically sentimental. "Do the Right Thing" is much tighter and the film's climax and overall impact is more powerful. Also of the note is the terrific acting from the entire cast. --- 9/10
Rated R for profanity and some violence
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