Saturday, June 29, 2013
Spike Lee (U.S., 1995)
In Person/Sam Pollard
Mekhi Phifer delivered a career-launching debut in Spike Lee’s vigorous adaptation of an iconic Richard Price novel, set amid the hardscrabble world of Brooklyn projects and the schemers, dreamers, and drug dealers that try to survive therein. Two cops (Harvey Keitel, John Turturro) investigate a slaying that points directly to the low-level dealer Strike (Phifer), a kid who seems far too intelligent to remain on the streets, but who—thanks to the no-future world around him—may never escape. Sam Pollard’s expressionist, hard-cutting editing contributes to the film’s cri de coeur, which transforms the era’s then-popular “hood movies” into a nearly operatic take on confinement, violence, and urban paranoia. “Bleak, hallucinatory, and fearlessly heartfelt, Clockers is precisely what Lee wanted it to be: ‘the hood movie to end all hood movies’” (Village Voice).
• Written by Lee, Richard Price, from the novel by Price. Photographed by Malik Hassan Sayeed. Edited by Sam Pollard. With Harvey Keitel, John Turturro, Delroy Lindo, Mekhi Phifer. (129 mins, 35mm, From Universal Pictures)