Spike Lee directs Wesley Snipes, Annabella Sciorra and John Turturro in this issues drama exploring the racism churned up when a black architect starts an office affair with his Italian secretary.
…Also THE CRACK EPIDEMIC! Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever is a messy, wayward, unfocussed movie. By the midway point the central plot and above-the-title stars are relegated to extras as Lee seems more fascinated by Samuel L. Jackson’s crackhead and Turturro’s sweet open hearted Italian boy. And why wouldn’t he be? Their subplots and performance are remarkable. But they aren’t the hook or the actors we have bought a ticket for. The Snipes / Sciorra romance has heat for all of five minutes (it is hardly the interracial sex romp the poster guaranteed) and after that an ensemble NYC state of the union begins. What we get is histrionic, vibrant, heartfelt. And I’m not going to say almost to a fault. It may have been packaged wrong but this is a powerful, experimental studio film. A melodrama with true grit. Those flavours often settle strangely in the mouth. Like when Stevie Wonder’s brilliant soulful soundtrack awkwardly scores scenes of distressing violence. But I’d take the big lunges and popping colours of Lee at his most unrestrained over classier, prestige productions on big topics any day of the week.
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