Spike Lee’s film version of Price’s novel retains much of the novel’s essence, as it follows clocker Ronald “Strike” Dunham (Phifer) through a series of personal and professional trials and tribulations. Strike is facing a real dilemma not unlike that faced in the corporate world; in order to get ahead, he has to accomplish a task that he would rather not perform: firing a dishonest subordinate for his boss. In Strike’s case, however, the firing has to take a much more literal form. Unable to commit the killing, he runs into his long-suffering older brother, Victor (Washington), who eschewed the lure of the drug trade. Victor has also distinguished himself from his brother in that Victor has not abandoned the ethical codes that include personal responsibility for one’s family. Victor supports his wife and children through multiple and menial forms of employment. Strike, meanwhile, is estranged from his mother, who disapproves of his drug dealing. Nevertheless, Victor promises Strike that “my man” will take care of the situation for him. When the subordinate ends up dead, Victor gives himself up to the police, claiming the murder was committed in self-defense. —Nitrateonline.com
As a writer, director, actor, producer, author, and entrepreneur, Spike Lee has revolutionized the role of black talent in Hollywood, tearing away decades of stereotypes and marginalized portrayals to establish a new arena for Afro-American voices to be heard. His movies, a series of outspoken and provocative socio-political critiques informed by an unwavering commitment toward challenging cultural assumptions not only about race but also class and gender identity, both solidified his own standing as one of contemporary cinema’s most influential figures and furthered the careers of actors including Denzel Washington, Wesley Snipes, Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, and Laurence Fishburne. Born Shelton Jackson Lee in Atlanta, GA, on March 20, 1957, he was raised in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn. After attending Atlanta’s prestigious Morehouse College, returned to New York to make his first movie, 1977’s Last Hustle in Brooklyn, a portrait of the area’s Black and Puerto Rican communities… read more
It seems rambling, but it's probably the first film where Spike really opened up his approach to narrative. It starts wide then becomes narrow, as the pressures mount. but that's kind of what he has been doing since Do The Right Thing anyway. This time it felt a little 'looser', for lack of a better word
don't mess with Harvey Keitel! your typical drug dealers vs. drug dealers vs. cops vs. drug dealers symbiosis drama, but it's a Spike Lee Joint & so it is tinged with tuff-sentimentality & showmanship. I was touched by M. Phifer's love of trains: he's a gypsy, like me, as well as the Moby Dick themed fast-food joint. to make it even more atmospheric, I'm writing this "review" from my McDonald's in Bed-Stuy.