Film Micrœview #218: Do The Right Thing (1989)

07.30.2015 § Leave a comment

Rating: Good.

Basically one big setup for an explosive climax. Cartoony characters and exaggerated lighting and Dutch tilts and such. No one character is really developed.

However the complexities underlying that final confrontation and its fallout are impressive. I can’t think I’ve seen a work that so clearly illustrates the systemic, distributed nature of racial strife. This isn’t one crazy racist versus one person of color in the wrong place at the wrong time. The major racist and the major reformer are on the sidelines. It’s the white guy who loves the black community he’s a part of and loves being part of it versus a generally confrontational black guy who’s been incented by the reformer guy who end up exploding at each other. And it’s a third party cop (who is earlier seen being much more reasonable, resolving a conflict in favor of the disenfranchised folks [well, and also in a racist monologue]) who kills. And it’s a mediator character, our vessel of identification, the one who has been explicitly told the titular phrase, who kicks off the cathartic destruction. These things aren’t easy to parse, there aren’t simple solutions.

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