Movie Reviews: Clockers




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    Universal (2 hr. 9. min.)
      Spike Lee's atmospheric murder mystery involving two brothers living in a Brooklyn housing project.
     Harvey Keitel, John Turturro, Delroy Lindo, Mekhi Phifer
Bottom Line:


     Spike Lee has a distinct way of opening his movies. He grabs you by the shirt coller and smacks you upside the face. Remember Malcom X? Clockers is no exception. Lee shows actual crime scene photographs of drug-related murder victims behind superimposed opening credits. Beware: Lee doesn't make the slightest attempt to soften the photos.
     Clockers isn't your typical Spike Lee movie, and it isn't Lee's best work either -- so don't look for Malcom X. But that's not to say Clockers isn't an excellent film. It is. Fact of the matter is, if it were up to me, "and it is," every crime drama with a mind blowing plot twist will get an excellent review from me every time. Clockers is such a movie. Hopefully as a crime drama, Clockers will receive the accolades it deserves, and not be over shadowed by similar genre films, i.e. Pulp Fiction and The Usual Suspects.
     Based on Richard Price's novel, Clockers is about a harden Brooklyn homicide detective (Harvey Keitel) investigating the murder of a drug dealer.  The crime was apparently committed by one of two brothers, who couldn't be more different (or could they both be involved?). One brother is a hard working family man (Victor Washington), and the other is a small time drug dealer (Mekhi Phifer).
     At first, Keitel is convinced that Phifer's older brother is protecting him by taking the rap for the murder. Washington has a clean record, and he's claiming self-defense. But as Keitel digs deeper, he becomes unsure as to which brother actually commited the murder. Keitel's investigation eventually leads him to the big drug dealer (Delroy Lindo) who ordered the hit.
     There are great, believable performances here, especially by Lindo and Phifer. But crime drama aside, like all Spike Lee movies, Clockers delivers a heavy message. It's about humanity in a Brooklyn housing project, where the residents try to fight back but are held in fear by drug dealers.
     Lee's complex murder mystery will have you guessing who done it right up to its sensational ending.



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