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Spike Lee’s film Do the Right Thing analysis

The extract I have chosen is taken from Spike Lee’s film Do the Right Thing and I am going to analyze it in terms of its film elements to convey meaning according to the filmmaker’s intentions, vision and his influences. Do the Right Thing, is set in Brooklyn, New York during the nineteen eighties in a low-class neighborhood during one the hottest days of the summer. The focus of the film is on how economic superiority and race affects the moral decisions that the characters make how it has a direct effect on the way people interact with each other. It starts with the film’s characters waking up to start their day and going on with their lives. Meanwhile the audience is introduced to the main location in the film, Sal’s pizzeria. Sal is an older white man and his restaurant, he has a “Wall of Fame”. In this “Wall of Fame” there only white people and no other ethnic groups are represented.

This causes Buggin Out to be offended, Buggin Out is a black man who is outspoken and sporadic. After Sal refuses, Buggin Out proceeds to get a group of people together to storm the pizzeria. A neighborhood riot then ensues after police officers excessively restrain and kill a young black man named Radio Raheem for fighting Sal in his pizzeria, and then outside on the street. The selected scene is a few minutes after Radio Raheem had been killed by the police because he was resisting them. This scene is a major turning point in film. It was used in order to change the tone of the film from comedic to serious, as the characters begin to shout the names of the people who have suffered from police brutality. At this point, the audience begins to realize that this may have not been an accident, and police brutality is very common in this neighborhood. The residents of this lower class neighborhood are aware that it is normal for them to be oppressed by police. After the the older man says “They didn’t have to kill the boy.” Mookie and the audience begin to realize that they may be on the wrong side. This screenshot is a close-up on Mookie’s shocked face. This shows that Mookie has decided he should not be standing next to Sal and his two sons because they are the reason that Radio Raheem died.

In this screenshot, the positions they stand in are very important because Sal is standing in the center and his two sons are standing behind him, this resembles a leader and his/her followers. In this shot, Mookie is seen walking away from Sal and this show that he has changed his position towards them. This moment is significant because because Mookie was loyal to Sal through employment, but now must choose the side of his fellow African-American people. After Mookie leaves, Sal’s facial expression becomes more tense because he realizes that he had lost the only person in the neighborhood on his side who ethnically looked like the rest of the residents, who at the moment are not happy with him or his sons.

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