Do the Right Thing (1989)

R   |    |  Comedy, Drama


Do the Right Thing (1989) Poster

On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence.

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7.9/10
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  • Spike Lee and Bill Lee at an event for Do the Right Thing (1989)
  • Spike Lee and Rosie Perez in Do the Right Thing (1989)
  • Spike Lee and Danny Aiello at an event for Do the Right Thing (1989)
  • Spike Lee and Danny Aiello in Do the Right Thing (1989)
  • Spike Lee in Do the Right Thing (1989)
  • Spike Lee and Bill Lee at an event for Do the Right Thing (1989)

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10 December 2004 | The_Void
8
| excellent drama with a message
If I had to make a list of the top ten things that I find most boring, racism would be right at the summit along with economics and The Blair Witch Project. For that reason, I have avoided Do the Right Thing up until now for fear that it would be a lecture on racism...but actually, I don't know what I was afraid of, as this film is really good. Spike Lee's racial drama is actually more a film about the feebleness of racial divides and how violence only breeds violence, as opposed to a film ABOUT racism. In fact, the film can be best described as a cinematic materialisation of Martin Luther King's famous "an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind" speech.

For this movie, Spike Lee has put together a terrific cast, that includes many actors that have gone on to become big names in the movie industry, people such as Samuel L. Jackson, John Turturro and Martin Lawrence, not to mention smaller stars such as Ossie Davis. The cast comes together excellently and the neighbourhood that Spike Lee has created for this film feels very real, and through the multiple personalities that inhabit it, it manages to stay interesting and realistic throughout. The atmosphere of the neighbourhood is also of note, and you really do get the feeling that someone could say 'biatch' or 'dogg' at any time. Spike Lee delights in showing us many different people, and at different times - including their reactions to certain events and their interactions with each other, and it all helps to build up both their own characters and the neighbourhood that they live in. This proves to be invaluable to the film as it has no real plot and therefore relies on the characters and the neighbourhood that it has created to build itself, it's scenario and therefore it's message, up.

Do the Right Thing is a portrait of how multiple cultures live together in modern day America and it also succeeds in being a stark and potent portrayal of how violence never gets anyone anywhere. Spike Lee has shown his talents as an actor, director and a writer with this film, and even though majority opinion of him seems to be that he's a disagreeable old crone; at least he's one that has talent.

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