Spike Lee‘s most observant, funny and assured swipe at racism is set in a rundown, multiracial Brooklyn block on the hottest day of the year. Simmering grievances are exacerbated by the heat and the flashpoint comes down at Italian-American Sal’s (Danny Aiello) pizzeria where aptly named political agitator Buggin Out (Giancarlo Esposito) attempts a boycott because there are no photos of “brothers” on the walls.
Much of the criticism levelled at the movie focused on its concluding scenes which, it’s alleged, suggest it’s OK to loot and destroy in pursuit of racial justice. But Lee simply offers a more plausible ending than any multiracial peace’n’harmony fantasy. It’s all superbly photographed in bright, shimmering colours by Ernest Dickerson, with excellent performances from a quality cast that also finds room for those great black theatre veterans Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.