Spike Lee's Chi-Raq is one of the most energized films I've seen in awhile, a film that dances between moments of emotional poignancy and absurdest-fueled satire that borders on farce. It's a film that tonially feels like it shouldn't work, but it does, being an angry examination of the violence and poverty facing not only Chicago but urban American as a whole. Bordering on surrealist at times, Chi-raq is a film that manages to be incredibly playful and absurdest while never sacrificing the political and emotional resonance of this story of violence and needed change. A modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play 'Lysistrata", Spike Lee's Chi-raq's dialogue is entirely dictated in poetic prose, telling the story of a group of women led by Lysistrata who organize against the ongoing violence in Chicago's Southside by starting a movement of celebacy, denying their men sex, in an effort to stop the ceaseless violence in the community. Like many of Lee's films, Chi-raq can feel a little uneven at times, but what it lacks in subtlety and nuance it makes up for in vitality. If there is a hot-topic issue in modern America, in particularly urban America, Chi-raq has something to say about it, with the film's energy really exhibiting the urgency felt by its filmmakers who simply want the unheralded violence which exists in these communities to stop. Many film's that use poetic dictation feel clunky to me but Chi-raq's dialogue balances its drama and comedy in a way that is endlessly engaging, comical but potent, as Spike Lee has created a truly singular vision, an important film that's passion and energy is felt in every frame. While the film touches on a host of very important issues facing our country like gun violence and racism, Chi-raq's examination of masculinity is particularly interesting, capturing its penchant for violence and the inherent barbarianism. A major aspect of Chi-raq is about the importance of intellectualism, showcasing how the gang lifestyle is really just a form of tribalism and barbarianism with the film suggesting the importance of intellectual enlightenment being one of the primary keys to stopping mindless violence in these communities. Lee's film doesn't make excuses for the urban communities either, acknowledging the neglected but also encouraging them to be better in the face of adversity. Outrageous, singular, clumsy, but endlessly passionate, Spike Lee's Chi-raq isn't just an immersive political protest but a pleading examination of humanity remembering the importance and power of love over hate.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.