The summer of 1977 was a hot one in
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Residents of an Italian American neighborhood live in fear as the serial killer Son of Sam terrorizes the streets. Changing their life styles and routines, Spike Lee takes us inside the world of a pair of young couples as they survive the summer of 1977.
John Leguizamo plays an unfaithful high strung hairdresser married to Mira Sorvino, a hard working waitress. Adrien Brody plays a childhood friend of the neighborhood who returns to the streets as new punk rock convert in love with Ruby who just happens to be the street side slut.
All the stories inner twine as the killing continues. Fear turns to anger and anger to irrationality as the residents begin turning on each other, desperately searching for the killer among them. Who is the Son of Sam? He could be anyone...the
I have by far seen all of Spike Lees films but to date this is my favorite. I love the characters and situations that they put themselves into. I love the turmoil Leguizamo faces. The judgment and grief he shoves into his world. Adrian Brody was great, probably playing one of the most pivotal roles in his career.
I loved how Spike Lee brought the city to life with his cuts to the news and narrators, the use of footage from the period, and the marriage between the characters and the times.
Most of all I loved that the movie was about the neighborhood more than it was about the killer. It was about the people and their lives...it was about how fear affected them and less about the psycho and his battle with reality.
For some reason this movie reminded me a lot of Zodiac. The emotions that the camera fed me, the desperation of the characters, and the city as a living thing all reminded me of David Fincher's last effort.
My favorite scenes of the movie are as follows. I loved the introduction to Leguizamo's character. He comes riding into frame, rolling up the the disco with not cuts or edits. He walks in like Goodfellas and grooves into the dance floor. He starts get jiggy with it with his wife and suddenly the busy dance floor cuts to no one. Just the husband and wife completely absorbed with each other...dancing away. Beautiful...brilliant. I loved the first time when Leguizama is at the dead end street introducing his friends. He leans on the barricade smoking his cigarette and popping pills. Scared for his life he stares out into bay. Different friends and cronies come in and out of the scene...a great one. These are a few of the several that pop into my mind.
Summer of Sam succeeds at creating a world with living breathing characters. It succeeds at drawing you into a time and place and creating the fear that lived there. A beautifully gritty and in your face film that doesn't shy away from the dirt and the scum that people lived in. Borderline NC-17...that's your warning but a great movie none the less.