Sunday, September 15, 2013

Red Hook Summer

A single mother from suburban Atlanta drops her preadolescent son off at her estranged father's (Clarke Peters) sparse Brooklyn apartment where the young lad is forced to surrender his iPad and other middle class possessions and contend with the sermonizing of his ministerial grandfather. Red Hook Summer is a personal and probably somewhat autobiographical film from Spike Lee, who was given assistance on the screenplay by James McBride, which seems like it intended to capture the spirit of his earlier films (Lee's Mookie from Do the Right Thing even shows up sporadically to deliver pizza). I enjoyed some of how it was filmed, the unique color hues are appealing, but the film is so matter of fact and and the acting so amateurish (aside from Peters, who excels) that it is hard to take everything at face value. There is also a major revelation followed by a complete tonal shift which doesn't help matters either.