Therefore, this is a movie that should be made, almost in as a Public Announcement, because it’s not something that gets enough publicity. Spike Lee should definitely be rewarded for having the courage to tackle such a topic. It’s also great that he did it in such a creative manner. He adapted the story of Lysistrata by Aristophanes.
day Chicago. Instead of warring Greeks, we are being shown the violence between separate gangs that are destroying the city. The imagery is jarring, and the movie, most of which is set in lyrical dialogue, is pleasing to the ear even though the language can be rough and the topics discussed the same. Indeed, the movie even has its own Greek narrator, played with obvious delight by none other than Samuel L. Jackson. Lee also shows he has the power to hold onto an audience even at a moment that is not set to the verse involved. It is a serious, honest-to-God sermon performed by John Cusack. He is preaching to a crowd in the movie, but the angled cuts and repetition of lines make it clear that the sermon is meant for us the audience instead.
There is a lot of humor in this film (as it should be, Lysistrata is a comedy), but for me, a lot of the jokes fell flat. There is one instance specifically involving a Southern general that I think went way past the line of being funny, and instead was uncomfortable. Another part that seemed disrespectful to me instead of funny was the tactic that the government uses to try and remove the women from their base. Really? There are other ways you can play the situation for comedy without disrespecting the women involved, who should be seen as the heroines of the story – not playthings that are mindless.
Overall, the tone is playful, the movie an interesting watch. It’s not a movie that most people would like, but I think it’s one that most should watch.
I’m giving Chi-raq a “C+”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"