Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 1999. 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, Touchstone Pictures, Hostage Productions. Screenplay by Spike Lee, Victor Colicchio, Michael Imperioli. Cinematography by Ellen Kuras. Produced by Jon Kilik, Spike Lee. Music by Terence Blanchard. Production Design by Therese DePrez. Costume Design by Ruth E. Carter. Film Editing by Barry Alexander Brown.
Spike Lee directs this exploitative and excessive tale about the summer when all of New York was terrorized by David Berkowitz, the serial killer known as the “Son of Sam”. The story mainly follows residents of Brooklyn during the unbearably hot summer when Berkowitz randomly went out shooting people, mostly young women, insisting that his neighbour’s dog Sam was instructing him to do so. What this did to New York City was empty restaurants and night clubs, get women to change their appearances to look less like Berkowitz’s victims and increase paranoia in local neighbourhoods as to who the killer was. Adrien Brody plays a go-go boy whose nightlife leads his closest friends to suspect him of being involved, John Leguizamo is a sexually frustrated man who thanks to his Catholic-guilt upbringing can’t see his wife (Mira Sorvino) in an excitably sexual way (yeah right), and Jennifer Esposito is the sweet-natured easy girl of the neighbourhood who has her way with all of them. Relentlessly violent and unnecessarily sexual, Lee’s only good move in this film is to give all the wonderful actors involved lots of room to perform well, and they do (Esposito is the film’s best asset). Other than that there’s no centre for the action to revolve around, so you’re stuck watching scene after scene that never gets boring but certainly feels excessive.