Archive for the ‘Red Hook Summer’ Category

Red Hook Summer

Ahh Spike Lee.  Once again we tangle as filmmaker and critic.  I admit you are a much better filmmaker than I a critic, yet I still find I have issues with your films allowing me to speak my peace of mind.  Red Hook Summer seemed very promising at first, and it is in parts.  It still has its weaknesses, yet I can truly appreciate it for what it is…a Spike Lee Joint.

I may be the only person on the face of the earth that thinks both Clockers and The 25th Hour are tied for his two best films.  Red Hook Summer dives into those New York City worlds and into She’s Gotta Have It and Do the Right Thing as well. (Mookie’s still delivering pizza’s).  That is the best part about the film.  Lee created those worlds from the NYC landscapes he knows so well.

The film follows 13 year old Flik as he is uprooted from his Atlanta hometown and sent to New York to spend the summer with his preacher grandfather, Da Good Bishop Enoch Rouse.  There is obviously a generation gap as Flik spends his time buried in his iPad thinking his grandfather is old, boring, and way too preacher-man for his taste.

Enoch tries to teach his grandson about the beauty of the world around him.  He tries to show him the beauty that god created in the world.  Flik is caught up in the stark contrast of what his grandfather says, and the evil that exists in the world around him as well.

There’s a lot of great back and forth between Flik and Enoch.  Fli grows up and changes through the film because of Enoch.   It’s the depth of the film, but it’s very dragged out.  A back and forth battle between them that makes you tired as a viewer at times.  Lee’s good at building these types of characters, but he gets carried away just a bit here.

I like Spike Lee.  I always have, and when he’s on he’s on.  Red Hook Summer showcases all of the talent that made Lee a premier filmmaker, but it also shows some of the reasons why I think he’s a hard filmmaker to like at times.  The film could use a serious edit as well, running almost 2 1/2 hours in length.  This isn’t Lord of the Rings Spike.  I can appreciate the film for what it is, and pick out the best parts of Lee’s filmmaking.  He’s making, or at least attempting to make, the type of film that made him a household name.   For that it is worth the watch.

Grade: B-