I really want to like this. I really, really do. Spike's righteous urgency is contagious, and propels even the most juvenile sequences. Yet Chi-Raq is an evasive satire, masking anger with purile humor, and this creates a preposterousness that does damage to its subject and subjects - damage that could be rightfully argued as woefully racialist and exasperatingly sexist. I'm furious, but not in the way Spike wants.
Where Spike Lee says "I'll just do this myself" and unleashes a wealth of beautifully angled and politically pointed images. The flaws are as endearing as they are flagrant(I have it on good authority that this isn't Chicago). The satire doesn't back away into cold nonchalance like some movies I've recently reviewed here. Just to hear some of these things said aloud, in a multi-million dollar spectacle, feels great.
So confused by this Hip Hop-ra. I'm not sure who Spike Lee's audience was as things just didnt seem to make sense or be consistent. Moments of broken 4th walls, moments where the camera is part of the story and times when it is a voyeur. It is really hard to stay engaged in this film. Nice cinematography and lighting though.
In three words: brash as fuck. I loathe me a Spike Lee Joint when I loathe it (very often) and love it hard when I love it. I pretty much love Chi-Raq hard. A strident, stridently-of-the-moment movie, stridently political. Topical. Which can evoke the death knell. Not here. It's sloppy. It's actually a hot mess. But it plays. Really plays. I can see yr most blasé hairshop denizen gettin' happily wound up into this.
THIS IS AN EMERGENCY. WAKE UP. Lee's blistering new film co-written with Kevin Willmott casts the Greek play 'Lysistrata' into modern dress in Chicago and is a no-holds barred attack on America's gun culture and instituted racism. This marks Lee's most controversial piece since 'Bamboozled' and his best effort since the nineties. One can fault Lee for meandering but his film language and intent is masterful.
As socially important as it is structurally and tonally disparate, it's a bit of a messy masterpiece of truth and justice, always keeping it a hundred. There are brave, bold choices made here that end up massively helping Lee’s vision. The rhyming prose dialogue gives the film a flow when it is desperately needed, almost in place of the narrative structure, which spikes a lot in tone.
I laughed a few times, and the cinematography is redeeming; but honestly Spike Lee is so far up his own ass that I don't think he realizes this message he's trying to convey is making a mockery of the actual situation in South Side Chicago. Conveying this through an adaptation of a Greek comedy sounds like something a socially disconnected academic who only cares about exploiting the situation would do.
Spike Lee is well respected for his craft and ability to bring light on social issues (especially race), but after attending a screening in Chicago with a predominantly black audience, many were criticizing the film's twist on such a personal topic. However, it did a great job of sparking tough conversations about the ever existing black on black violence in Chicago, but it didn't go farther than that.
man, i wanted to like this way more than i did but unfortunately the bad outweighs the good for me here. john cusack delivers a fantastic eulogy that everyone is raving about. it feels as if spike gets sloppy with the whole "they speak in rhyme" bit, some moments are obviously deliberate while other moments aren't. emotionally this film falls flat when it needed to stick the landing. nick cannon is pretty bad too.
spike my guy... this movie is a hot mess. the tone is all over the place and there was a lot objectionable shit relating to gender/sexual politics. but overall I had a great time watching it. there are many excellent scenes and ideas here.... I ended up just sitting back and enjoying the madness of it all.
Lee explores womens place in violence, their unwavering influence, and their ability to assert maternal values & power against brute, nonsensical, patriarchal destruction. But ultimately the film is a mess. Too many ideas haphazardly chained together with no through line. Its Romeo & Juliet + Do The Right Thing; politics are intact, but with reaching iambic and a potluck narrative devoid of pioneering sensibilities.
As far as political filmmaking goes, Godard does it masterfully. Spike Lee sways on the side of preachiness. and no matter how much I agree with him and what he's fighting for and against, I still feel that way. Regardless, I really loved this. I really hated it at times (I spent a lot of the movie trying to keep up with the pacing of the rhymes and the rhyme schemes), but man, Teyonah Parris was great.