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Summer of Sam (1999)

Directed by:
Spike Lee
COUNTRY
USA

GENRE
Crime/Drama/Thriller

NORWEGIAN TITLE
Summer of Sam

RUNNING TIME
142 minutes

Produced by:
Jon Kilik
Spike Lee

Written by:
Victor Colicchio
Michael Imperioli
Spike Lee


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Vinny John Lequizamo
Ritchie Adrien Brody
Dionna Mira Sorvino
Ruby Jennifer Esposito
Joey T Michael Rispoli -
Woodstock Saverio Guerra -
Bobby Del Fiore Brian Tarantina -
Anthony Al Palagonia -
Brian Ken Garito -

Gloria

Bebe Neuwirth -

Helen

Patti LuPone -

Eddie

Mike Starr -

Detective Lou Petrocelli

Anthony LaPaglia -

Detective Curt Atwater

Roger Guenveur Smith -

Luigi

Ben Gazzara

Simon

John Savage -

David Berkowitz/Son of Sam

Michael Badalucco -

Midnite

Michael Imperioli -

Voice of Harvey the Dog

John Turturro -

 

Review

An ambitious piece from filmmaker Spike Lee, who aims to weave the lives of a handful few in Bronx, New York City in 1977 in with the fear and chaos created by the ravagings of the serial killer known at the time as Son of Sam. This was a time when the effects of the sexual revolution clashed with traditional cultural values, argues Lee, especially in the Italian-American neighbourhoods of Bronx. The movie is rich on characters, milieus, juxtapositions and contrasts. Its also almost engrossing. There are powerful lead performances by John Leguizamo, as the womanizing hair dresser Vinny, and Adrien Brody, as the contrary, bisexual Ritchie. But Lee cannot quite communicate and bring to life the low-level gang culture he tries to blend into the story. These characters remain superficial and unexamined a facet which drags the picture and our engagement in it down, especially seen in light of the obvious ambition invested in it all. The same can largely be said of the personification of Son of Sam himself (played by Michael Badalucco). He remains more of a concept than a character or even the important historical figure he ostensibly was for the conception of this story. Summer of Sam is approximating some kind of greatness, but if you set the bar too high, you also proportionally increase the chance of failure.

Copyright 16.09.2023 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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