The film Do the Right Thing was written, directed, and produced by Spike Lee. The film covers the events that happen over the course of one day in the lives of a racially heterogeneous population living and working in a lower-class neighborhood located in Brooklyn (Lee n.p.). The events take place on one of the summer’s hottest days. Do the Right Thing starts with the characters commencing their usual daily routines and climaxes with a large riot after the law enforcement officers end up killing a young man Radio Raheem after his quarrel with the Italian-American restaurant owner (Lee n.p.). The film highlights how the issues of race, social class, and decisions of the characters directly affect their interactions with each other. As such, the film is of great importance to the contemporary world despite being released more than three decades ago.
Importance and Message of the Movie
The movie, although created many years ago, remains highly relevant and important due to its overall social commentary on the effects that race and racial differences have on police brutality. Concerning this, while the movie is entertaining, it emotionally resonates with its modern-day audiences by pointing out the fact that when those in power do not address both social and racial disparities properly, this, in most instances, results in acts of extreme violence by those who feel powerless.
The film is also an essential piece of art because it serves to create awareness of police brutality against people of color, primarily African Americans. Police officers tend to use greater force when arresting people of color, which, in some cases, leads to death. Generally, today, alarming scenes of police brutality against African Americans are eerily common, such as the tragic death of Eric Garner. Furthermore, the film is important because it is realistic in its approach to the problem and embraces different stereotypes to make it about social issues and criticize them. It explores some of the major stereotypes perpetuated even today and brings out their negative impacts on society.
Do the Right Thing brilliantly shows that issues concerning race and police brutality against people of color did not cease to exist even after the Civil Rights movement meant to end discrimination. If not tacked, they could have devastating effects. As the movie points out, “if we don’t stop it now, people are going to do things they might regret for the rest of their lives.” Hence, people should always strive to do the right thing (Lee n.p.).
Lee, Spike. “Do the Right Thing.” IMDb, 1989, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097216/. Accessed 17 October 2020.