Thursday, November 18, 2010
Do the Right Thing. A
I'm pretty sure Do the Right Thing is one of the best movies ever made, but I'm not sure and won't be until I see it again. Spike Lee writes and directs and stars as Mookie, a young Brooklynite with a job at Sal's Famous Pizzeria. He's just a part of the day on a Brooklyn street that Lee depicts with fierce intensity and surprisingly little prejudice. In Do the Right Thing, all men are, as they were intended to be, equal. The section of Brooklyn depicted here is mainly an all black community, peppered with some Asians and, more significantly, the Italians at the pizzeria. The film opens with everyone proclaiming how sweltering the day will be. By the time the movie's over, so is the day. It's cooled down quite a bit, but there's more heat than ever on that sad little street. This is the best kind of movie for the themes it's dealing with-the kind that doesn't take sides. It's not a movie with a view or a perspective, but a movie that portrays morally ambiguous events and lets us think about them and determine if anything is justified or right. It's a dazzling movie, both technically and in the way it builds up tension over the little things-in this case a silly black man upset over a the wall of fame in the pizzeria that only includes white heroes. Lee utilizes everything he has on that Brooklyn street and lets them contribute either to our emotions, the story, or both. There have been a lot of movies about race, but none as effective or as simple in context yet deep in subtext as Do the Right Thing. It's easily the best thing Spike Lee has made.