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Chi-Raq (2015)

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A modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, set against the backdrop of gang violence in Chicago.

Director:

Spike Lee
5 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nick Cannon ... Chi-Raq
Teyonah Parris ... Lysistrata
Wesley Snipes ... Cyclops
Angela Bassett ... Miss Helen
Samuel L. Jackson ... Dolmedes
John Cusack ... Father Mike Corridan
Jennifer Hudson ... Irene
David Patrick Kelly ... General King Kong
D.B. Sweeney ... Mayor McCloud
Dave Chappelle ... Morris
Steve Harris ... Old Duke
Harry Lennix ... Commissioner Blades
Tony Fitzpatrick ... Chief Riptide
Anya Engel-Adams ... Rasheeda
Ebony Joy ... Marcy
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Storyline

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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Spike Lee Joint See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama | Musical

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue, nudity, language, some violence and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 December 2016 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Чирак See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,198,356, 6 December 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,647,377, 24 January 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The tattoos that Nick Cannon has are real. He had them before they started filming. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Father Mike Corridan: Yellow police tape, teddy bears, t-shirts, balloons - these are the national memorials of our neighborhoods. And it doesn't look good.
See more »

Connections

Version of Lisístrata (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Time for a Change
Written by Leroy Griffin, Jr.
Published by Leroy Griffin, Jr. (BMI)
Performed by Prince Eazy
Recorded and Produced by Prince Eazy
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Impressive and pretentious, important and difficult.
6 February 2016 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Chi-Raq (2015)

Spike Lee's latest is dearly ambitious and in some ways brilliant—a retelling of a Greek drama that wraps in edgy contemporary African-American urban culture. There is a narrator, played with usual panache by Samuel Jackson. There are the archetypes, people playing not just characters from the Greek version, but types of characters even if you don't know your Greek plays. And there is Chicago itself, a decaying yet bustling backdrop of the South Side.

What all this doesn't add up to is an immediately bracing experience. It pushes the viewer out rather than sucks them in. It requires patience too often (even the title tracks with words adding intertitles of sorts for the opening song go on long beyond the point we get the point). And it strikes false notes— alternately preachy and stiff.

The intentions are great—heroic even—and the result is singular. It's a special movie with moments of intensity. You might like it just for its being so different, or for speaking so loudly about violence and the idiocy of pretense and posturing among Black males (of the sort here, gangstas and drug lords, normal movie stuff and not the Black males I know). it's a great film at least from a distance.

But I found it tiring and almost dull, having to "try to like it" too often. The fact it's superbly intelligent isn't compensation.

It's worth noting the photography, though professionally sound, is not up to the inventive standards of earlier Lee films. Instead of his trusted Ernest Dickerson (who he stopped using with "Malcolm X"), he's using Matthew Libatique, who comes through much better with his Aronofsy collaborations. Here there is a kind of "fitting in" that limits the freedom the camera might otherwise give the movie.

So, forget the social controversy (and Chicago's mixed reception to the film) and give this a sincere try. I think you'll see if it's going to work for you in the first ten minutes. It won't leave you alone, so find what it's trying to do.


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