Is Spike Lee’s film, Chi-raq, a hit or miss?
Chi-raq (2015) is a modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play, Lysistrata, by Aristophanes. It is set against the backdrop of a city riddled with gang violence and showcases innocent civilians getting caught in the crossfire. Up until one day, when an incident involving a young girl’s death ultimately leads Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris) and all the women of the city to withhold sex from their men until peace is attained.
Chi-raq is a difficult film to recommend, mainly because I’m not sure which demographic Spike Lee was aiming for. It’s a very admirable film with a powerful message and boasts of great performances all around, but its tonal inconsistencies failed to make it the dark outrageous comedy it could’ve been.
It lacks the wit and charm of his earlier films such as Do the Right Thing (1989) but contains the sharp political/social satire of films like Inside Man (2006). Spike Lee’s films have always been either a hit or a miss and unfortunately, Chi-raq deviates more towards the latter.
In any case, if you’re open to something different and don’t mind the lack of a singular tone, then Chi-raq is a city for you to visit. Samuel Jackson is simply hilarious as the pimp.
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