Recently I went in to my collection of dvd’s and picked out Do The Right Thing and I have to say of all the films directed by the talented and versatile Spike Lee (a list that includes Malcolm X, He Got Game, and Inside Man among others) this has to be his greatest achievement.
The film’s setup takes place during the hottest day of the summer in a mostly Black and Hispanic neighborhood of the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, a borough of New York City.The main plot of this ensemble piece involves the situation of Mookie, (played by Lee) a young black pizza delivery man for Sal’s famous pizzeria owned and operated by Sal or Salvatore, (convincingly played by Danny Aiello) an Italian American who has owned the place for twenty five years and operates with his sons Pino (John Turturro) and Vito (Richard Edson). The relationship between Mookie and Sal acts as a microcosm for the tenuous or strained race relations between residents of the entire neighborhood that we see as the day wears on and becomes night eventually escalates into acts of violence.
With smart and purposeful direction by Lee, beautifully vivid cinematography , a strong cast filled with a great amount of entertaining and interesting characters, a solid soundtrack led by the group Public Enemy and their song Fight The Power that features prominently throughout the picture, and mesmerizing ending that you won’t expect and leaves the viewer to decide for themselves whether or not violence can be the right thing to do. So if you are not busy and want to see a thought provoking picture that can start a conversation I strongly recommend this one to be it.