After the shooting death of a child hit by a stray bullet, a group of women led by Lysistrata organize against the on-going violence in Chicago's Southside creating a movement that challenges the nature of race, sex and violence in America and around the world.
At the end when the peace signing ceremony is being conducted all the parties involved are on one side of the signing table which is in front of them between the seats of the amphitheater with all the visible seats empty. See more »
Father Mike Corridan:
I'm going to talk about a life today. An important life in our community. A life that ends life. The life of a gun.
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Written by Carol Joy Cymbala, Frederick Washington and Jason Michael Webb
Published by Carol Joy Music (ASCAP)/Fred Wah Music (ASCAP) c/o ClearBox Rights and Jason Nene Music (ASCAP) c/o BMG Gold Songs (ASCAP)
Performed by Cinque Cullar
Produced by Michael Drayton See more »
Some Great Performances but a Misfire
** 1/2 (out of 4)
When a woman's (Jennifer Hudson) daughter is killed by a stray bullet, Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris) begins to rethink the situation in Chicago. Her boyfriend is the gangster/rapper Chi-Raq (Nick Cannon) and she wants him to put down the weapons. The town's other big gangster (Wesley Snipes) doesn't see the point so soon the mothers decide to team up and battle the gangsters themselves. How they going to bring peace? By refusing sex.
Spike Lee's CHI-RAQ contains some really, really great moments and things but at the same time I honestly can't remember such a serious subject being tackled in such a rather silly way. After I was done viewing the movie I went and read several reviews on it and they were extremely mixed to say the least. Some called it a masterpiece. Some said it was one of the worst movies of the year. Others said people were misunderstanding the tone of the picture because it was meant to be a black comedy. A comedy? Really?
I will start off with the great stuff. For starters, Lee does a tremendous job in the directing duties as he certainly handles the material in a terrific way and I'd argue he did a remarkable job considering the time and budget that he was working with. I'd also add that the cinematography was flawless and the soundtrack was great as well. The real shock for me was the excellent performance by Cannon who really does give a "movie star" performance here. I mean, I was really shocked at how wonderful he was in this role and he made the character rather fearful yet when it came time to show the heart, the actor did a fabulous job. John Cusack was also strong in his role as was Snipes, Parris and Angela Bassett. Samuel L. Jackson is also good playing Dolmedes.
Now, for the flaws. For the life of me I couldn't understand why the Lysistrata and Dolmedes thing was used. Yes, it turns the material into a musical and it gives the subject a rather fresh and original take but why was it needed? The film is a very political one and it really does beat the viewer over the head with the subject matter of blacks killing blacks but is this a way to get through to anyone? The film takes on a dark subject but I just couldn't help but think that it took an easy way out by not really giving any real answers. With holding sex? Really? I wish the screenplay had been done in a different fashion and the political message also got way off track and really derailed the film towards the end.
CHI-RAQ is a film that I greatly admired at times but at other times I really thought it was a misfire. Lee deserves credit for tackling the subject and he deserves credit for trying to tell the story in a different way but in the end the two things just didn't mix too well.
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