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Summer of Sam

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Summer of Sam

Starring: Adrien Brody, John Leguizamo
Director: Spike Lee
Rated: R
RunTime: 142 Minutes
Release Date: July 1999
Genres: Drama, Suspense

Review by Suzdal
1½ stars out of 4

In his latest film Spike Lee uses the backdrop of Brooklyn in the sweltering summer of 1977 to tell a story about our fear of that which is different from us. Unfortunately he doesn't really go anywhere with it. That summer the infamous "Son of Sam" killer, David Berkowitz was prowling the streets of Brooklyn and hysteria was rampant. Ritchie (Adrien Brody) is an old neighborhood type recently returned who is viewed with suspicion because of his new punk lifestyle. His only real friend Vinnie, played by John Leguizamo is going through personal problems of his own and wavers between loyalty and suspicion. The other plot of the movie focuses on Vinnie's marital problems with his wife, Mira Sorvino.

The cast is good but the characters aren't very substantial, so only Brody really comes across well. The plot is not that interesting. Lee overdoes it on every respect; the sex is important to the plot but gets boring, same with the killings they are the backdrop of the story that creates the atmosphere-but we are shown every single one in bloody detail and are also treated to some frankly funny Berkowitz scenes. By the time the dog shows up you can't help but laugh a little.

Overall it is watchable and the historical context is interesting for those of us who don't remember it personally. The acting is good-- but the film is overindulgent.

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