One Crazy Red Hook Summer: Spike Lee's Rollicking New Mess

Rich Juzwiak · 08/10/12 10:10AM

"I came here to hide but there was so much beauty it didn't seem like a punishment," explains Bishop Enoch Rouse (Clarke Peters) deep into Spike Lee's latest, Red Hook Summer. Much of the film reads like an argument Lee is having with himself regarding a number of topics: religion versus atheism, progress versus tradition, redemption versus accountability, black Jesus versus white Jesus, fatherhood versus spiritual advisement. However, this moment is clear, direct and confirmed by much of what precedes it aesthetically. Red Hook Summer glows in a saturated glory, its succession of shots of the Brooklyn neighborhood where it's set unfurling like a slow-moving fireworks display. Perhaps it goes without saying, but Red Hook Summer is Lee's latest love letter to the borough he calls home.