Spike Lee’s seriocomic portrait of simmering racial tensions was one of most controversial — and one of the best — American films of the 1980s, and may be the director’s greatest triumph. Set in central Brooklyn on the hottest day of the year, and centring on a white-owned pizzeria in a black neighbourhood, Do the Right Thing builds to a shattering climax that provoked intense debate and left audiences deeply shaken. Some alarmed critics feared the film would incite race riots! Lee’s colourful, complex, confrontational movie is daring in its refusal to tell us what to think: all of his characters have their reasons, and their flaws; the imperative demanded by the title — do the right thing! — remains shrouded in ambiguity. The conflicted, seemingly self-contradictory impulses at work are neatly summed up in the two apparently irreconcilable quotes, from Martin Luther King and from Malcolm X, with which Do the Right Thing concludes. When the film was snubbed at the Oscars the same year Driving Miss Daisy won big, Lee suggested that many Americans were more comfortable with a black man who is a chauffeur than with his own complex, volatile, and often inscrutable characters! “A film of astonishing power and originality... There are no easy answers to the questions that this film poses with such artistry and grace” (James Monaco). Colour, 35mm. 120 mins.
"A stylistic achievement... Spike Lee was 32 when he made it, assured, confident, in the full joy of his power. He takes this story, which sounds like grim social realism, and tells it with music, humor, color and exuberant invention."Chicago Sun-Times | full review
"A powerful and persuasive look at an ethnic community and what makes it tick--funky, entertaining, packed with insight, and political in the best, most responsible sense."Chicago Reader | full review
"Mr. Lee's movie is anything but minimalist. It is bursting with character, color, incident and music, including a militant rap number performed by Public Enemy."New York Times | full review
14A - Under 14 requires adult accompaniment.
Advisory: Frequent very coarse language; occasional violence and nudity.
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