Spike Lee directs Denzel Washington, Ray Allen and Rosario Dawson in this basketball movie where a convict is given a week out of prison to persuade his estranged son to sign up to a certain college’s team.
A seemingly forgotten movie which is a true shame as it sees Denzel and Spike doing some of their best work in the moments. It is a celebration of basketball. Untethered to plot and reality at points but always transfixing. Some experiments work better than others; the mix of Public Enemy and orchestral work by Aaron Copeland means the soundtrack is never hidden away in the background. The finale embraces the mythic and the epic in a way that is truly affecting. Only Milla Jovovich’s subplot as a sad hooker ruins the flavour. She cannot match the calibre of Denzel’s powerhouse and their scenes together drag. I think Spike included her to offer some redemption to his lead’s crime against his wife but it just doesn’t click and would have benefited from being hacked out. Minor gripe as most of this is powerful stuff and a love letter to the young athletes who make the sport.
Perfect Double Bill: Hoop Dreams (1994)
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