Red Hook Summer

Bill I’s Review – 2 out of 5

Do the Right Thing is an iconic movie to me, and Spike Lee has made several other excellent films such as Malcolm X, 25th Hour, Clockers and Inside Man. Red Hook Summer is like going back in time to when he was a beginner. She’s Gotta Have It was a fun, in your face piece of film making and in several ways Red Hook Summer reminds me of this, but with less fun and much less fresh, but mostly with the amatuerish aspects. For example, having characters making speeches, either to each other or to themselves/God/the camera. Red Hood Summer has two “actors” playing 12-13 year-old’s, a boy and a girl, bonding during a hot summer in Brooklyn, and they don’t act as much as shout their lines, probably right after memorizing them. Neither was believable to me as a young teenager in their situations. Speaking of which, why would a normal, seemingly well off young mother send her only son from their comfortable middle class neighborhood up to live with her estranged father living in the projects, with all the violence and drug dealing that comes with that? It doesn’t make any sense, and no reason is given, especially when the kid pleas with his mom to come home. The father is the main reason I enjoyed watching this film, and is portrayed by Clarke Peters (also excellent in HBO’s Treme) in an extraordinary performance. The Red Hook mileu is the other interesting character, but the plot is boring until it’s not, at which point its cringe-worthy manipulation ticked me off. Spike plays your emotions to the max, instead of organically letting the plot evolve. I couldn’t wait for this movie to end, and when it did I looked around to commiserate with my fellow film goers, except the other two people in the theatre had already left. I suggest you skip this film unless you are a Spike Lee afficianado, and don’t mind sitting through a mediocre movie. Hey, Woody Allen fans do that all the time.

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