I Recently read an article entitled: "Chiraq' Makes Me Uncomfortable and It Should Make You Uncomfortable Too."
I was shocked, because nothing about the trailer made me uncomfortable. In fact, it made me want to see the film. The article went on to say that the movie might be a possible Oscar grab (since when did Spike give a damn about the Oscars?) and the fact that Spike isn't from Chicago, means he should most likely leave the movie alone. I found these arguments to be made well, but still a bit weak. I mean, after all, we only saw a trailer. An entire film's worth is hard to grasp from a trailer. Chiraq shouldn't be judged completely by the trailer and deserves a viewing before absolute criticism is passed.
Sure, the trailer made you uncomfortable, but shouldn't it?
A lot of critics seem concerned about the fact that the movie's subject should be handle with care and kit gloves. Should horrible gun violence within the black community be handled by our own people with a silky smooth touch or should we fight the topic with gusto? The film is also being criticized for showing some humorous tones, but lets be honest, his masterpiece, Do The Right Thin, had humorous tones in it. The topics Spike dealt with in Do The Right Thing were all very serious and no, they were not handled with care, they were shoved down your throat for you to swallow without a choice. Everyone loved that.
So, what's the problem now? Is it because this movie deals with more than just racism, but black people dying at our own hands? Are we ashamed of this and disturbed by this? Does this make us uncomfortable? Good. It should. Spike Lee is the king of biting satire (except for in the case of She Hate Me, what the hell was that?) so, I have enough confidence in him to give him the chance to blend the two topics together. There was nothing about the trailer that made believe there was anything slapstick funny about it, satire always has to have a humorous tone, that's a big part of what satire is.
Yes, the film is very loosely based around the Greek Comedy, Lysistrata. This play was a satire about war violence back in its day. What's sad, is that it is still completely relevant today because men are more at war with each other now in our own back yards than ever before.
How can Chiraq be a cheap Oscar grab when The Oscars don't care about black films?
When was the last time The Oscars gave a damn about giving black movies an Oscar, unless it's a slave movie? 12 Years a Slave was an Incredible movie by the way, but still. Everyone knows Spike Lee deserved an Oscar for Malcolm X and Do The Right Thing, but he didn't receive one and that has not slowed him down one bit.
Knowing that there is a next-to-none chance he will get an Oscar for this movie, why would make one in a cheap attempt to get the golden statue?
It's unfair to assume the movie won't be authentic because he's not from Chicago.
There have been directors that have made amazing movies about the A.I.D.s epidemic and the gay community, but they weren't gay or had A.I.D.s. It's called research. We don't know how much research went in to creating Chiraq, considering he went to great lengths to cast people from the area, can we at least give him the benefit-of-the doubt that he talked to people in the city? Spike doesn't cross me as the type to skimp on the details considering how hands on he gets with directing his films. Not to mentioned the stunning and in-depth documentaries he's done on New Orleans. He's never lived in New Orleans but he nailed the documentaries, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, If God Is Willing and da Creek Don't Rise. It's not at all clear from the trailer how "authentic" Chiraq is so, let's hold that criticism for the actual viewing of the movie.
He hasn't made a good movie in a while...so what?
Yes, I said it, so what? Spike Lee has done great films and just because he's done some duds doesn't mean he can't write a great hit. Audiences are fickle, of course, and you're only as good as your last success, but seriously it's not like we don't know what the man is capable of. That kind of talent doesn't just vanish. Spike Lee has a lot of investment money on the line with this film for sure. It was made by Amazon. I doubt Amazon would throw money behind something that was utter trash when they're trying to compete with the likes of Netflix? This could be the movie that puts him back on the map. Having a few misses doesn't mean your talent is gone forever.
I'm not saying for sure that this movie will be great or even good. I understand people from Chicago being concerned about how their city is portrayed. However, even if the movie shows the streets of chi-town like they really are, people are still going to be upset by seeing their town portrayed so negatively. I come from a city that can get pretty rough and I wish someone would take such a scathing look at it. There's nothing "careful" about gun violence, I don't think we need to handle it with care. We need to handle it with brutal honesty. The black community has a bad habit of wanting to sweep some of our problems under the rug. However, I think we need go back to Spike Lee's classic way of story telling. Let's talk about s***! Let's scream, let's cry, let's laugh about it,but dammit, the time to talk is now!