Spike Lee marks his return to Brooklyn with “Red Hook Summer,” a story about a young, disgruntled boy, Flik Royale (Jules Brown), who is forced to spend his summer away from the comfortable confines of his middle class existence in Atlanta, to the projects of Brooklyn with his religious Grandfather, Bishop Enoch Rouse (Clarke Peters).
I’ve been waiting almost fifteen years for Spike Lee to come back to Brooklyn, so I’m disappointed to say that his homecoming is somewhat bittersweet. While “Red Hook” retains some of Lee’s infamous Brooklyn charms with beautiful shots of the neighborhood and his quick on screen appearance as Mookie, it’s quickly washed out with Lee’s attempt to make a point. Of course, Lee isn’t a stranger to a lecture or two, but “Red Hook” relies solely on Bishop Enoch to get Lee’s point across with countless sermons and lectures in the church, “Lil’ Peace of Heaven” and ultimately suffocates the audience with what comes off as religious indignation.
The characters and dialogue are stiff, except for Deacon Zee (Thomas Jefferson Byrd), who managed to bring some life onto the screen and into the story, which is practically ignored until the last thirty minutes of the movie and where it takes a giant leap out of nowhere. Although, you don’t see it coming, when it finally does happen, it feels rushed, out of place and irrelevant because I barely had any time to relate or like any of the characters in the first place.
“Red Hook Summer” is worth a go, if you’re a Spike Lee fan, but don’t expect “Do the Right Thing” or “He Got Game,” or you’ll come home crying, like me.
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