Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing" is a simmering film which centers itself on the subject of racism and subsequent violence that sprouts from it. With his dead on approach, the film can be easily misinterpreted as one that campaigns for racism. It could have appeared to have taken sides with any one particular ethnicity but Lee effectively keeps it from going astray.
Although very compelling, it bombards you with such dark, disturbing themes and facts without giving you enough time to digest them. It differentiates itself from other films which deal with the same subject, by concentrating on racism and its effects in a small neighbourhood rather than on a political front. It has no message, questions or answers on the subject but fiercly confronts it, displaying it boldly without diluting it with even a drop of humanity.
No plot exists, it doesn't entertain but it is the kind of movie that radiates with brilliance, purely on artistic grounds. This being the fifth Spike Lee film that I've seen after 25th hour, Inside man, He got game and Malcolm X, I realize that there exist genuine trademarks in his films which initially, I disregarded as references to his other films. He is one of the few directors of today with a truly distinctive voice as a film maker.
Lee had a clear-cut vision of the character, Sal and was insistent on casting Robert De Niro. This is evident when Danny Aiello flawlessly portrays Sal with mannerisms similar to De Niro's Jimmy Conway, Sam Rothstein and Nick Wells.
Definitely a great film, the best movie of 1989 and one of the best movies on racism on par with American History X.