Spike Lee’s awesome cinematic sucker-punch remains one of the great films about race relations. Detailing the simmering tensions amid Brooklyn’s racially mixed Bedford-Stuyvesant district on the hottest day of the year, it’s the film that made Lee’s name as one of the great black filmmakers, injecting colour and attitude into America cinema’s 1990s ‘indie’ insurgency.
The director himself plays Mookie, a pizza delivery boy trying to keep cool inbetween jobs for his Italian restaurateur boss, Sal (Danny Aiello). When local residents question Sal’s lack of black representation on his pizzeria’s ‘Wall of Fame’, a minor protest begins. But as the heat begins to rise events soon spiral out of control.
The genius of Lee’s film lies in its presentation of issues of prejudice and racial tension, which are just part of a rich tapestry bursting with humour and heart.