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Chi-Raq 15 rating

Spike Lee’s bold and vivacious hip-hop musical restages an ancient Greek battle-of-the-sexes in 21st-century Chicago.

Musical 2015 127 mins

Director: Spike Lee



Spike Lee is back on the rampage and the result is this dazzling, rage-fuelled, in-your-face hip-hop musical that re-purposes Aristophanes’ Lysistrata – a comedy about a Greek heroine who leads a sex-strike to prevent war – setting it in Chicago’s South Side. Chi-Raq (Nick Cannon) is the leader of the Spartans and the lover of foxy, feisty Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris - Mad Men). The Spartans are at war with rival gang, the Trojans, led by Cyclops (Wesley Snipes). When an 11-year-old-girl is killed in the crossfire, Lysistrata decides to take action, convincing her sisters on both sides to take a stand - with the rallying cry of “No peace, no pussy”.

The first original movie from Amazon Studios employs the still considerable energies of a clearly rejuvenated Spike Lee, who revels in this crazy-on-paper project that conflates Greek mythology, hop-hop and a scorching social commentary on inner city violence. Reframing the Black Lives Matter debate with colour, creativity and pounding beats, and featuring an incredible cast that also includes John Cusack, Angela Bassett and Samuel L Jackson as rhyming narrator (surely a successor to Mister Señor Love Daddy), this is Spike Lee’s most intoxicating joint for a decade.