This Spike Lee film examines the life of an aspiring actress in New York. She is upset by the treatment of women in the movie industry during one of her screen tests with 'QT'. Out of work ... See full summary »
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 South Bronx neighborhood who live in fear and distrust of one another.
Strike is a young city drug pusher under the tutelage of drug-lord Rodney Little, who, when not playing with model trains or drinking Moo for his ulcer, just likes to chill with his brothers near the benches outside the project houses. When a night man at a fast-food restaurant is found with four bullets in his body, Strike's older brother turns himself in as the killer. Det. Rocco Klein doesn't buy the story, however, and sets out to find the truth, and it seems that all the fingers point toward Strike & Rodney. Written by
Michael Silva <email@example.com>
In 1995 I considered Spike Lee's gritty CLOCKERS one of the year's best films; recently I spotted its video in a clearance bin and picked it up. Upon re-viewing, I am struck again by its complexity. It is the first urban drama to depict inner-city race relations with the intricacy such a pervasive cultural issue demands. On the surface it resembles a whodunit, but its main concern is how drugs and violence contaminate entire communities, dramatized in the collapse of one African-American youth's life. (He chokes up blood the way some of us sweat.) This process is observed by a predominantly white police force that makes hollow attempts to keep order, and refuses to intervene with the community's gradual decline.
Instead of characters with overt prejudices and plain racial allegiances-characters that are sterile symbols of bigotry rather than credible humans guilty of it-Lee gives us characters of casual racism. Most representative of this is Harvey Keitel's Rocco Klein, a white detective who cannot understand the culture surrounding him, which is a culture of narcotics, violence, and black-on-black crime. On his beat, drugs are less a problem than a lifestyle, murder resolves the tiniest of disagreements, and young mothers valiantly but vainly battle the influence young dealers have on their sons. Klein views the inner-city with contempt, but deep down he knows all the whores and dealers are human beings, too.
Klein is introduced at the scene of a homicide, where the police handle the gruesome death with a clinical sense of detachment, cracking bad jokes and asking the bloodied corpse questions. Is it just a job, or is it racism? For Klein, it's both: he needs the gallows humor to psychologically deal with this culture of depravity. What's fascinating about CLOCKERS is Lee's willingness-and guts-to present Klein, despite his prejudice, as the film's hero. Lee understands that casual racism is simply endemic and inescapable in American culture. What he appreciates is Klein's ability to transcend his own prejudice and finally do the right thing.
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