Newest Review: ... it, hate it but remember when the film was made it was hugely controversial. The DVD can be bought on Ebay for 99p or on Amazon for £3.9... more
Ground breaking in its day, less so now
Do The Right Thing (DVD)
Member Name: huggy2009
Do The Right Thing (DVD)
Advantages: Great narrative, very honest and courageous
Disadvantages: It has dated a lot
Rewatching this film it really is difficult to understand how this could have caused controversy or offence on its release. Ok its honest and gritty but its not offensive in anyway its a brutal 'story' of life in an area of New York where confusion turns into violence.
Directed by Spike Lee, the film was released in 1989 with a stellar soundtrack and some pretty great actors too.
Centred around a community in New York, we follow Pookie (Spike Lee) a pizza delivery boy as we meet the weird and wonderful residents of his neighbourhood, from his feisty girlfriend (Rosie Perez) to his boss Sal (Danny Aiello), we see the struggles for young black men in New York as well as those of Italian Americans, however the film centres on a build up of tension between different sections of the community which result in danger, anger and eventually violence and tragedy.
Danny Aiello ... Salvatore 'Sal' Fragione
Ossie Davis ... Da Mayor
Ruby Dee ... Mother Sister
Richard Edson ... Vito
Giancarlo Esposito ... Buggin Out
Spike Lee ... Mookie
Bill Nunn ... Radio Raheem
John Turturro ... Pino
Paul Benjamin ... ML
Frankie Faison ... Coconut Sid
Did I like it:
Being honest, I love the film, it has dated a lot and while its still a film with a lot to say its not as aggressive as people made it out to be. The evocation of neighbourhood and community is touching and the hottest summer in years appears to me to be a metaphor for racial tension as the heat rises so does the atmosphere, comments between African American and Italian American residents takes on renewed anger until it erupts into horrific violence.
The film is unapologetic in accepting that life in a poor neighbourhood is hard work and you have to cut corners to survive. The soundtrack of Public Enemy tracks continues to show the anger and political nature of this film.
The film is bright and colourful and for me the visuals are the most dated part of the film, the tension and build up between communities is scary and you get drawn into it without realising. Spike Lee is a very good director, but being honest he's an average actor so his central role is distracting at times. Rosie Perez however shows why she was the go to girl at that time for spunky, spirited actresses, she exudes charm, confidence and you can see who is in charge in her relationship throughout.
Sanny Aiello and his two sons, one an obvious racist and one brought up in a multicultural society are not shown as outright villains as with every character in the film they are multi dimensional and they have good points but their anger is explained and the change in nature of jokes, comments and relationships in this film is still relevant and terrifying today.
Overall I enjoyed this film as much on my third viewing as I did my first ten years ago, the music and visuals are caught in that era, however the political message and story are still as relevant as ever without being preachy. It is a thought provoking film not afraid to be honest and offend where necessary.
Watch it, enjoy it, hate it but remember when the film was made it was hugely controversial.
The DVD can be bought on Ebay for 99p or on Amazon for £3.93. It includes theatrical trailer, directors commentary and music videos.
Summary: Ground breaking in its day, less so now