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405. Do The Right Thing; movie review

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Title : 405. Do The Right Thing; movie review
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Cert 15
120 mins
BBFC advice: Contains strong language, racist language, nudity, strong violence

How had I never previously seen Spike Lee's groundbreaking Do The Right Thing?
Who knows, but while its fashions may be dated, its message is as relevant today as it was in the 1980s.
Lee's film lays bare the racism and consequential violence which has bedevilled the United States for hundreds of years.
It throws up a bag of social dilemmas and asks its audience how they would have reacted to them.
Set in the searing heat of a summer day in a predominantly African-American neighbourhood of New York, it begins like a theatre-styled, easygoing reflection on suburban life.
Lee stars as Mookie who delivers food from a 'famous' pizzeria run by an opinionated but well-liked Big Apple Italian (Danny Aiello).
John Turturro plays the takeaway owners son who spits lack of respect to people of colour despite them making up 100% of the shop's clientele.
The neighbourhood is rich in characters and includes a street drunk (Ossie Davis) whose actions and observations are selfless and smash stereotypes.
There is also a narrative of sorts from Samuel L. Jackson in one of his earliest parts as a local radio station DJ who looks out on to the streets from his studio and says what he sees.
And, as those streets heat up, the suppressed racial and socio-economic tensions hit boiling point.
Lee demands that his audience make up their own minds on who is to blame for the balloon going up.
Is it the authorities for not securing jobs with decent pay for the African American community, is it the Italian Americans for their casual racism against black customers?
Is it the young black people because they refused to adhere to the system?
It is also interesting to see their negative reaction towards a Korean shopkeeper who is even more isolated than them.
Lee throws so many ingredients into the melting pot in what remains a brilliant, thought-provoking piece of work three decades after it was made.
It is sadly as relevant today as it was 30 years ago.

Reasons to watch: As fine an expose of race hate and love ever made
Reasons to avoid: It hasn't entirely past the test of time

Laughs: A couple of chuckles
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: Yes
Overall rating: 9.5/10

Did you know? Spike Lee wanted Robert De Niro for the role of the brash Italian-American pizzeria owner Sal which eventually went to Danny Aiello was Oscar-nominated for his performance. 

Final word. Spike Lee: "People forget that Tom Pollock (Universal Pictures' president) had just went through hell with Scorsese’s Last Temptation of Christ when he received death threats. So, he could have easily said to me, ‘Spike, I can’t put my family through this again.’ He didn’t do that. Tom Pollock was not scared at all." Hollywood Reporter

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