Film: Do the Right Thing

Opened: July 21, 1989

Directed by: Spike Lee

Starring: Spike Lee, Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Nunn, John Turturro, Richard Edson, Roger Guenveur Smith, Rosie Perez, Joie Lee, Steve White, Martin Lawrence, Leonard L. Thomas, Christa Rivers, Robin Harris, Paul Benjamin, Frankie Faison, Samuel L. Jackson, Steve Park, Rick Aiello, Miguel Sandoval, Luis Antonio Ramos, John Savage & Frank Vincent

At the time of its release, Do the Right Thing caused controversy on its depiction of race relations and violence, but this story sadly doesn’t feel out of place at all over 30 years later.

Italian American Sal (Danny Aiello) runs a pizzeria with his two sons (John Turturro & Richard Edson) in a black neighborhood in Brooklyn where they have some racial tensions with the residents, including their delivery boy Mookie (Spike Lee). Mookie’s friend Buggin’ Out (Giancarlo Esposito) starts to protest the restaurant.

The film mostly takes place over the course of one day with the racial imbalance having a slow burn. When the climax happens, it feels very real and not unlike scenes recorded and shared on social media in 2020.

Final say: The confrontations are uncomfortable, but that’s what you’re supposed to feel. ★★★★☆

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