Do The Right Thing (1989)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5

USA, 1989.  Screenplay by Spike Lee.  Cinematography by .  Produced by Spike Lee.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Spike Lee’s best film is this explosive examination of racism in America, whittled down to the microcosm of a street corner in Brooklyn on the hottest day of the summer. Lee plays a whimsical pizza delivery boy who spends time with friends and family between deliveries, infuriating his Italian-American boss (), whose son () isn’t nearly as lenient as he is. Among the other ensemble characters are Lee’s sister  (who is excellent) as his sister, as the neighbourhood’s unofficial mayor and  (in her breakthrough role) as Lee’s girlfriend. At first it plays like a fun multicharacter comedy, but then tension mounts at the pizza parlor when a highly strung member of the community (Giancarlo Esposito) picks a fight with Aiello and the whole neighbourhood goes up in flames. Ernest Dickerson’s fantastic cinematography allows the viewer to feel the heat of the setting, while Lee’s superb screenplay and direction increase the suspense until the explosive climax.

The Criterion Collection:  #97

Academy Award Nominations:  Best Supporting Actor (Danny Aiello); Best Original Screenplay

Cannes Film Festival:  In Competition

Golden Globe Award Nominations:  Best Picture-Drama; Best Supporting Actor (Danny Aiello); Best Director (Spike Lee); Best Screenplay

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