“Do the Right Thing” by Spike Lee: Film Analysis Essay


The movie “Do the Right Thing” by Spike Lee can be acclaimed as one of the most successful dramas released in 1989. This is no wonder as the film features outstanding play by actors, an interesting and thought-provoking layout, and good quality of its accomplishment. Overall, the film appears to be a great piece of film-making art representing the themes of racism, nationalism, discrimination, and all the complexity behind the necessity to live and cope with each other by the representatives of the most different nationalities and races.

An overview of the film

First of all, speaking about the film “Do the Right Thing” by Spike Lee, its general theme is to be addressed. The film is dedicated to the issues of racism, nationalism, and discrimination along with the complexity of relations between nations. The modern reality of American society where the representatives of the most different races and nationalities have to deal with each other daily is shown in the movie. This reality is cruel and full of pain and unhappiness. It is also full of conflicts and extreme violence. Bartley describer this terrible violence in the following way:

Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in the destruction of all. The law of an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind. It is immoral because it seeks to annihilate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys the community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers (2006, p. 10).

Along with racial intolerance and violence caused by it, one of the central themes in the movie is uncontrolled police brutality. The scenes depicting this topic appeared to be mind-blowing when they were first shown in 1989. However, even nowadays, they become a reason for heated debates in the press and a source of fiery critics by the mainstream media.

Next, the film’s plot develops around the racial conflict which constantly grows into cruel violence and hatred between the representatives of different nations and races shown in it. From day to day, the situation is getting ever more heated as the main protagonist belonging to African-Americans and working for an Italian family comes to initiate a conflict with its members on the reason of a measure of misunderstanding along with racial intolerance. Then, the conflict is getting more complicated as a result of interference into it of more and more people including police acting cruelly and brutally which considerably worsened it. Eventually, it becomes outrageously serious and causes a lot of cruelty and violence.

Further, speaking about the character development in the movie, it should be stated that it is accomplished brilliantly in the movie. This might be illustrated by several characters. For instance, the main protagonist’s character appears to be remarkable even at the beginning of the movie. However, with the development of the story plot, it becomes more memorable and more distinguished. Mookie, the main protagonist, faces a moral dilemma as his conflict with his employers develops. This cruel conflict wounds his soul and heart multiple times, but this does not rob him of his moral values. As a result, he faces the moral dilemma of whether he is to do the right things under complicated circumstances or not. As this moral dilemma develops, the strength of this character is shown. Remarkable is the fact that after more than twenty years after the release of this movie Mookie’s character continues to be one of the brightest characters ever created by American filmmakers (Bartley 2006).

In addition, the film features excellent style which makes Spike Lee one of the best African-American directors in the world. After its first release in 1989, “Do the Right Thing” sparked a furor on the reason for its innovative style. One of the main reasons is the combination of excellent actor play, great script, and ingenious work by the cinematographers and editors.

The evaluation of the film’s performance and acting

Finally, addressing the film’s performance, it should be stated again that it is remarkable. The actorship by John Turturro, Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Giancarlo Esposito, and Spike Lee himself is to be especially emphasized. All of these talented actors highly impressed the audience along with film critics by their skillful play touching minds and hearts to the extremity. Regarding the editing techniques used in the production, it should be also noted that they were incredible. Similar statements can be made concerning the staging techniques and lighting used in the production of the movie. According to Scott (2006, par.7),

The editing techniques used in the production

As a film, Do the Right Thing is a study of how cinematography can effectively add credence to plot and character development. The film’s sensual details, such as the hot, sticky, suffocating heat of a summer day, are visually stunning. Since weather plays a significant role in the film from start to finish – -it is the oppressive summer heat that stokes racial conflicts to the surface, driving the film to its tragic and violent climax – the cinematographer’s use of light and color increases its visual power.

The staging techniques and lighting used in the production

The set design, costumes, and makeup.

Several new techniques were applied by the filmmakers in the above-mentioned areas. For example, the light specialists put a lot of work into adding red and orange colors to the film’s picture which had a greater impact on the audience as it represented the depth of racial intolerance and conflict in a special way. Such technique became an exclusive feature of this film. Similar effects were made by the set design, costumes, and makeup which were accomplished in such a way that helped the audience pay more attention to the main themes addressed in the movie.

Concluding on all the above-discussed information, it should be stated that this brilliant drama by Spike Lee can be marked as a strong address to several critical issues which are especially timely during the last few decades. This film impels thinking about such questions as what is to be done to preserve healthy relationships between the representatives of different national groups and races, how police brutality can be controlled, and how to cope with such a significant problem of nowadays as discrimination on the reason of ethnical intolerance. “Do the Right Thing” impresses greatly and can be evaluated as very engaging; it is mainly explained by the team of professionals busy in it; especially, the director’s cut and incredible play by its cast including inimitable Ossie Davis and Danny Aiello.

Bartley, W. (2006). Mookie as “wavering Hero”: Do the Right Thing and the American Historical Romance. Literature/Film Quarterly, 34 (1), 9+.

Scott, C. (2006). Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing: An Explosive Film That Continues to Spark Questions About Racism in America. Web.

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The film shows that it is very difficult for the back people to go about their daily lives with the police authority appearing to keep a discriminatory eye on them. But the dynamic is challenging because when the black people wanted to cool off in the water, the police came and turned it off. It seems as though the black people weren’t malevolent in the film, for the most part, but were just victims of circumstance. I think many people who don’t have air conditioning would support opening up a fire hydrant to cool off on a day that is tempting the 100 degrees Fahrenheit mark. It was just one or two people who decided to turn on the fire hydrant that were the real criminals, but that seemed to paint a dark picture for all of the black people in the neighbourhood, and that type of behaviour led the police to stereotype the black people and fueled much of the hate that they had towards them. This is an example of how the film does a tremendous job at showing how one or two bad apples can spoil the bunch.

Another example is when the police kill Radio Raheem. The black people retaliate by trashing Sal’s pizza restaurant, which a few felt didn’t belong in their neighbourhood because it didn’t have pictures of black people in it. This shows that the behaviour of the police, because they were white, reflected poorly on other white people, and Sal, even though he appeared to like black people most of the time, had to pay the price. Sal’s character showed the conflicting opinions about black people that white people possessed. Sal was in love with his black worker, Mookie’s, sister and he looked at Mookie as a son. However, when Radio Raheem wouldn’t turn his music down when he was in the restaurant, he started saying racial slurs. This shows how magnified the actions of each race was at the time, and when a member of one race did something wrong, it painted a bad picture for everyone belonging to the racial group.

do the right thing analysis essay

While keeping on the topic of magnification, it is important to note what started the whole ordeal. When Buggin Out gets upset about the fact that there are no pictures of black people on the wall at the pizzeria, he becomes furious and tries to get a boycott going. However, not including a black person on the wall wasn’t meant to be an insult to the community. After all, Sal, as mentioned, loved black people, and all he wanted to do was put pictures on the wall of Italian Americans to reflect his heritage. This was what he had wanted his pizzeria to look like. Taking this small details and turning it into something it was not, is what eventually caused the riot and Radio Raheem’s death. Lee emphasizes this point by having the mentally challenged character put a picture of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King on the wall near the end of the film. The reaction Buggin Out had to there being no pictures of black people on the wall shows the sensitivity that he had and which was present throughout the film with nearly everyone involved. This is explained in “Unthinking Eurocentrism:” “The sensitivity around  stereotypes  and distortions largely arises, then, from the powerlessness of historically marginalized groups to control their own representations,” (184). But the question about whether Buggin Out was being sensitive is debatable. For example, as “Black Looks: Race and Representation,” points out, “From slavery on, white supremacists have recognized that control over images is central to the maintenance of any system of racial domination” (2).

The film also depicted the various power dynamics that were expressed between the white and black people. White people were usually in positions of power, such as was the position of Sal in the pizzeria, as Mookie was his employee. It was also evident in the police. However, when the white man driving the vehicle through the neighbourhood asked the black people to direct the water from the hydrant in another direction, he was rude to them, and they decided to instead direct the water at him and the vehicle in which he took so much pride. There was a consistent power struggle between the black and the white people, as Mookie continually questioned the authority that was on him. Furthermore, the black people were in control with the white man in the car wasn’t able to get by them without having his vehicle soaked. This shows the building tension that were simmering like the summer heat between the two races.

Also, when the biker accidently stepped on Buggin Out’s shoe and scuffed it, this shows how each culture was essentially walking all over each other, and there was little each could do to stay out of the others’ way. There was so much tension due to the fact that white people actually used black people as slaves at one point, and that there were so many other inequalities that were present with black people throughout the history of the United States. Much of the tension was also based on gentrification. For example, the black people were criticizing the white person for buying a home on their block, and they asked him why he would want to buy a home in a black neighbourhood. They also used the world  gentrification when describing what they thought of the man who decided to move into what they considered to be their neighbourhood.


Sal and his son, Vito, weren’t Eurocentric, or feel that their race was somehow superior to the others. The same could be said of the South Korean couple who owned the corner store, although they could have been saying at the end of the film, “I am like you,” just so their store wouldn’t be burned down. Furthermore, Mookie seemed to be very accepting of white people, and wasn’t at all racist, even though he threw a garbage can through the pizza restaurant’s window, which essentially started the riot (However, he was aware the restaurant had insurance). But for the most part, each person depicted in the film felt that their race was superior. This is similar to what is said in “Unthinking Eurocentrism.” For example, the text talks about the typical perception of people who have an opinion on Eurocentrism. This attitude, whether it was by the police or by Sal’s son, or, for that matter, by Radio Raheem, who consistently played “Fight the Power.” Instead, an ethnocentric attitude would be more precise to describe the attitudes of many of the people in the film. However, “Unthinking Eurocentrism” shines an accurate light on the type of perceptions that were evident in the film. “Although Eurocentrism and racism are historically intertwined – for example, the erasure of Africa as historical subject reinforces racism against African-Americans – they are in no way equitable, for the simple reason that Eurocentrism is the ‘normal’ consensus view of history that most First Worlders and even many Third Worlders learn at school and from the media” (3).

Each group felt they had a right to the neighbourhood. The Italian-Americans had been in the neighbourhood for 25 years and they felt they were entitled to stay. The white biker owned a home in the neighbourhood and he thought it was “a free country.” The South Koreans saw a business opportunity and they wanted to serve somewhere, and for whatever reason they decided to open up shop in Brooklyn. Finally, the black people felt it was the only place they could afford to live, and anyone else who moved in were causing gentrification. Each of the relationships look to be appropriate for the time, and this might still be the way things are in that neighbourhood. The film achieved its mission of depicting the challenges, tensions and misunderstandings of each group in the film, and the depiction shows the progress that has been made in race relations throughout Canada.

References Hooks, Bell.  Black Looks: Race and Representation . Boston: South End Press, 1992.

Shahat, Ella, and Robert Stab.  Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the Media  New York: Routledge, 1994.

Spike Lee,  Do the Right Thing.  Film, Spike Lee. (1989; Los Angeles: 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks/Universal Pictures, 1989). Film.


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Do The Right Thing Essay

Analysis of spike lee's do the right thing essay.

Director and actor Spike Lee presents his "truth" about race relations in his movie Do the Right Thing. The film exhibits the spectacle of black discrimination and racial altercations. Through serious, angry, and loud sounds, Lee stays true to the ethnicity of his characters, all of which reflect their own individualism. Lee uses insulting diction and intense scenes to show how severe racism can lead to violence. The biases reflected through Do the Right Thing model those of today which has kept society in a constant feud for so long. In Oprah Winfrey's dynamic episode, "The Color of Fear", Mr. Mun Wah projects his strong opinion when he states, " . . . that racism is still going on today, that we've got to stop to hear the anguish

The Theme Of Do The Right Thing

The film has several ethnicities within a small area along a time line of one day. The film has many, informative methods in which it describe the various diversity issues of all the characters within the movie. For example, Sal’s pizzeria which is owned by an Italian American has pictures of famous Italian Americans on the wall and plays Italian music. One character named Buggin Out is always upset. Bugging out hates the fact that there are no black people pictures on the wall especially since the pizzeria is in a black neighborhood. His perspective represents the people in the African American community that always protest, but usually don’t work to improve the community. The

How Does Spike Lee Use Cinematography In Do The Right Thing

Spike Lee’s camera technique in “Do The Right Thing” enhances racial tensions between characters. uses a lot of canted frames, tracking shots, close-ups, high and low angles, parallelism, and music to achieve this. The heat wave going through Brooklyn is exemplified in many ways: on the radio, through discussion between characters, people’s dress, and actions, etc. Lee also uses cinematography to get across how hot this day really is. For example, the film begins with a montage of people in the neighborhood trying to cool off, struggling to get through their morning routines: a shot of someone taking a cold shower, cuts to a shot of someone sticking their face in ice, to someone sticking their head in the freezer, men drinking beer, someone

Spike Lee - Auteur Essay

Spike is no stranger to controversy due to the elements he uses in his films. Most of Lee’s films consist of an African American theme and inspect the issues of race relations, political issues, urban crime and violence. His 2nd film he made Do the Right Thing (1989) explored all of these issues. He also explored the issues of family/father & relationships in his films Crooklyn (1994), Get on the Bus (1996) and He Got Game (1998). In his films School Daze (1988), Do The Right Thing (1989), Jungle Fever (1991), Get on the Bus (1996), Summer of Sam (1999) and Bamboozled (2000) he included the issues circulating around racism. Another issue he explores is black female sexuality which is in the films She’s Gotta Have It (1986), Girl 6 (1996) and She Hates Me (2004).

Do The Right Thing Cultural Pluralism

These different ethnic relations are racially divide because it depends on someone's believe towards a race. In the film Do the Right Thing, written, directed by Spike demonstrates how social class, culture, and race can affect the way people interact with each other. For example, Buggin’ Out who is an African-American sees that the pizzeria's “Wall of Fame” and he is offended that the wall only has pictures of Italian “white” important people. The important wall becomes a symbol of racism and hate to the

Do The Right Thing : Racial Conflict

It is unfortunate that intolerance continues to exist in our nation (or anywhere else for that matter). Racism, one of the largest and most prevalent forms of intolerance, commonly destroys relationships and can eventually lead to violence. The existence of such hateful ideologies is so prevalent in our society that popular culture is constantly trying to challenge the ignorant basis of racial conflict. Spike Lee’s film, Do the Right Thing, connects with this concept of racial conflict that is so foreign to my past. Through the application of my social and political views, I will demonstrate how Spike Lee’s film is difficult for me to relate to and, in my opinion, conveys a misleading message.

Themes Of Do The Right Thing

The film Do the Right Thing is a very relevant on issues of race. The film shows how there is tension between all races. The film shows racial tension between the communities in the hottest day of the year. The heat is a theme in the film. Heat in general gets people on edge and raises tension. The film relates to W.E.B. Dubois work “The Soul of Black Folk.” Dubois (1903) work includes the concepts of the veil and double consciousness. The African Americans in the film deal with the idea of a veil. Mookie the protagonist deals with the idea of double consciousness.

Spike Lee: Do the Right Thing Essay

In Spike Lee’s film Do the Right Thing, we dive head first into a world of racial and social ills. The movie is set in the African American and Puerto Rican neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, on the hottest day of the year. We follow a young man named Mookie, who lives with his sister Jade, and works as a pizza delivery guy for a local pizzeria owed by Sal. Sal’s “Wall of Fame” is soon questioned by a man named Buggin’ Out, who believes that Sal should place some pictures of African American celebrities on his wall to represent the African American society he serves. Sal refuses and Buggn’ Out attempts to

Film Paper on Boyz N The Hood

Both Lee and Singleton strive to give an authentic picture of how black youth interact with people of other races. For example, the Korean show owner from DO THE RIGHT THING saying: “I no white. I black, you, me, same. We same!” tells the black youth that other minorities in America have their own battles with civil injustice from white authority.

Do The Right Thing Sociology

  • 3 Works Cited

The film depicts the lives of those who live on a city block in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York where Sal’s Famous Pizzeria is located. Racial and ethnic hatred is shown through the characters who frequent the Italian restaurant. Sal’s son, Pino, wants to move the Pizzeria into their own neighborhood away

Analysis Of Do The Right Thing

In spite of the fact that Do the Right Thing and Jungle Fever are both associated with social and political issues, they tend to navigate through various racial viewpoints using different cinematic elements. Spike Lee uses a variety of techniques in his film to bring awareness to events occurring in today's society. For example Do the Right Thing, is a film that tackles down the social issue of prejudice as well as the controversial issues between Italian-Americans and African Americans in New York City. The whole movie unravels around the “Wall of Fame” located inside Sal’s Pizzeria, which only features Italian actors. One day a local customer name Bugging Out, demands to have black actors, since after all the pizzeria is located within a black neighborhood. Soon enough the “Wall of Fame” becomes a symbolic representation of racism and hate which leads to a riot involving an explicit scene of police brutality. On the other hand Jungle Fever, tends to emphasise on the subject of interracial couples, as well as the controversy between Italian-Americans and African Americans and of course the usage of drugs. The movie is based on Flipper, an African American architect who has an affair with his secretary Angie, who is an Italian-American. The climax of the movie occurs when Flipper’s wife Drew, finds out about the affair and from then on society begins to reject Flipper and Angie because of social norms. Forcing them into a corner where they later learn that they were driven

Analysis Of The Movie ' Do The Right Thing ' Essay

In Spike Lee 's Do the Right Thing, the story takes places in 1989, another year in the long struggle for equality for African-Americans. The film portrays the racial tensions between locals of the neighborhood and an Italian-American family in the majority Black and Hispanic neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant (Bed-Stuy) in Brooklyn, New York. Spike Lee shows us what a day in the life of the Brooklyn neighborhood consists of and throughout the movie he portrays several different aspects of a modern urban neighborhood, using the many unique personalities of the characters in the movie.

Do The Right Thing Analysis

The movie Do the Right Thing, composed, coordinated and created by Spike Lee, concentrates on a solitary day of the lives of racially differing individuals who live and work in a lower-class neighborhood in Brooklyn New York. Notwithstanding, this common day happens on one of the most sizzling days of summer. The movie fixates on how social class, race and the ethical choices that the characters make directly affect the way individuals communicate with each other. Furthermore, in this essay I will analyses Spike Lee’s use of mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing, and sound in the film.

Essay Film Sequence Analysis of "Do the Right Thing"

Spike Lee's 1989 film Do the Right Thing is able to effectively explore the problem of racial conflict in America by skilfully manipulating cinematic devices such as staging, narrative, cinematography, editing and sound. The concentration and emphasis on characters' certain physical attributes with the use of photography and camera framing, the fast pace editing style and manipulation of sound all contribute to film's overall meaning. In analysing the short sequence beginning with a small girl drawing a chalk painting on the road and ending with Sal, the local pizzeria owner, making Radio Raheem, "a hulking misunderstood home-boy" , two slices of pizza, these devices are seen to illustrate the hostility between Black and Italian working

Do the Right Thing Scene Analysis Essay

Do the Right Thing is a dramatic comedic film that was directed by Spike Lee. The movie was released in 1989. Lee served in three capacities for the film: writer, director and producer of the movie, Ernest Dickenson was the cinematographer and Barry Alexander Brown was the film’s editor. For this film, Lee garnered together some notable actors and actresses, including Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Rosie Perez, Samuel L. Jackson, John Tuturro and Martin Lawrence. The setting of the movie is in Bedford-Stuyvesant; which is a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. This particular neighborhood is made up of several ethnic groups that include African Americas, Italians, Koreans, and Puerto Ricans. The movie takes place on a particularly hot day

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Spike Lee’s Film Do the Right Thing Analysis

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Do The Right Thing , Film Analysis , Movie Review

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Spike Lee’s Film Do The Right Thing Analysis

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Table of Contents

Analyzing do the right thing, portrayal of police brutality in do the right thing, works cited.

  • Lee, S. (Director). (1989). Do the Right Thing [Motion picture]. United States: Universal Pictures.
  • Bakari, S. (2017). Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing": Aesthetic and Political Implications. Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies, 10(7), 79-94.
  • Carroll, N. (2015). The Philosophy of Spike Lee. University Press of Kentucky.
  • Davis, T. (1990). Do the Right Thing: Spike Lee’s Urban Comedy. Journal of Popular Film and Television, 18(3), 110-118.
  • Ferriss, S., & Young, M. (1998). Chick Flicks: Contemporary Women at the Movies. Routledge.
  • Gates Jr, H. L. (1998). The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism. Oxford University Press.
  • Greene, M. (1997). Releasing the image: From literature to new media. Indiana University Press.
  • Hooks, b. (1992). Black looks: Race and representation. South End Press.
  • Kaplan, E. A. (1997). Psychoanalysis and Cinema: The Play of Shadows. Routledge.
  • Sontag, S. (2001). On Photography. Penguin Classics.

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Analyzing the Film Shot Do the Right Thing

While films are entertainment for many individuals, only a few understand the crucial aspects that build up a movie. While the concept of understanding the underlying factors in a film may sound insignificant to most people in society, it is invaluable in enhancing the perception of different themes across the scenes. The most salient factors to analyze in a movie are coloring, lighting, and details, providing insight into what the producer wants the audience to experience. One of the renowned films that utilize these factors is “Do the Right Thing,” since it highlights all the essential aspects that producers should embrace. This paper will analyze two scenes from the movie by focusing on the details, coloring, and lighting to evaluate how the film producers were successful.

Movie scene

The image is a close-up of two men, one appearing to be 60 years old and the other thirty years old. The older guy is wearing a black long-sleeved t-shirt, while the younger one is wearing a white vest. From the hand gestures, they appear to be in a conversation with the guy in a white vest explaining something. The two men are at the center of the screen; the rest of their bodies have been cut out by the frame. They appear to be in a hotel since the older guy is holding a glass. Moreover, the table seems to have a menu and flowers to paint the picture of a hotel. The younger man appears to be a chef because of his apron. The two men are in focus while other details are blurred. In the background, there is a greengrocer that has watermelons and oranges. The middle ground has a car painted in black and white. The background matches the hotel setting since they are both related to food. The image has a wide rectangle as its aspect view. From the orange lighting, it appears to be summer- their mode of dressing further propagates this. From the upper left of the image, some cars appear to be parked.

In the scene where Sal and Pino talk, several cinematography techniques are employed by Spike Lee. Among these techniques, the lighting, color, and focus were the most pivotal in successfully making the film successful. The scene, for instance, utilized natural lighting to enhance the colors of the setting. Considering that the film is concerned with racial discrimination, showing the contrast between characters was crucial. Natural light was, therefore, essential in establishing the ethnic differences between the two characters. Moreover, the lighting provides enough illumination to the characters, ensuring that the audience can easily track their body movements and gestures. These gestures are essential to the scene since they enhance understanding of what the characters are arguing about. Additionally, it provides further information on the scene’s context regarding the surroundings and environment. This creates a sense of familiarization among the audience since they can quickly identify where the scene is happening. Light has therefore been influential in shaping the character, mood, and space of the scene. For instance, each individual’s personality is highlighted by facial expressions and body movements, an aspect that light emphasizes (Lindsrom, 2008). This, for instance, is evident when Sal uses his body movements to signify to Pino that he will handle the situation after they are provoked. Here, lighting was pivotal in ensuring the audience acknowledged the similarity between the two characters’ hair. The mood has also been influenced by the lighting employed by the scene since the brightness of the scene creates a tranquil mood that makes the audience interested in the conversation. This is because it makes the conversation important by having the two characters in the spotlight. The bright light effectively emphasized the characters’ words while producing a comical effect. Lighting has influenced the space of the scene by focusing on the critical subjects and ignoring the irrelevant ones. Moreover, it has ensured that background details in the scene create a realistic idea that the two characters are in a hotel. Light also reveals and hides objects in the scene, such as the shadow cast behind Sal which has been used to hide details under the table. The producer therefore utilized color in the scene to make it enjoyable end enticing to the audience.

In addition to lighting, the color films have played a significant role in making the scene a success. This entails the color schemes used and the information conveyed by these colors and the dominant color. The scene is characterized by warm colors such as yellows, earth tones, and oranges to set the mood of a typical Brooklyn summer. The color scheme was analogous since it combined closely related colors to form a distinct one. Moreover, the color scheme was coherent with the mood since Sal and Pino were about to have a meaningful conversation. The color theme was critical in communicating different emotions experienced in the scene. Pino, for instance, was complaining about working in such an environment- the colors were influential in this scene in coloring a peaceful atmosphere that listened to his grievances. Moreover, they are consistent with how Sal is relaxed while enjoying his drink during the conversation. The vibrant nature portrayed in the scene is shown via a passerby who comes to the window to disturb Sal and Pino amid their conversation (Lindsrom, 2008). Pino’s infuriation paved the way for the arguments that he had with other members of the community. Here, the colors used to paint a summer in Brooklyn are supported by the individuals attending different activities outside. Since such events only occur in the summer, the colors have been used to introduce other emotions to the scene. The scene is dominated by a dusty brown color to signify a sunny day. This is used to create a timeline that the audience can use to establish the nature of the conversation. Moreover, it highlights significant activities that take place within the community during summer. The dust-brown color was also used to depict the environment in which the two characters lived. We are introduced to a struggling community- an aspect that the color has emphasized. The scene therefore utilized color schemes to create a topology of colors that paint a warm summer day in a low-income community.

The filmmakers used both shallow and deep focus to shoot the scene. The deep focus is essential in getting the audience to pay attention to the conversation between Sal and Pino. This is done by focusing on the conversation while blurring insignificant objects in the background. In addition to playing a role in getting the audience to listen to the message, deep focus ascertains that the audience concentrates on body movements, gestures, and facial expressions. Moreover, it relays information about the context of the conversation by highlighting significant attributes at the table. Shallow focus is introduced when the passerby interrupts the conversation. This is crucial in providing insight into the character of Pino since the focus now shifts from the conversation to Pino’s confrontation. All this while, Sal is calmy seated until he sees the need to intervene. Here, the producers used shallow focus to show the characters of the two individuals. The filmmakers also employed rack focus to introduce the conversation (Lindsrom, 2008). Although they were the center of attention, the focus was on the entire room; hence the audience may have swayed focus based on insignificant events. By utilizing rack focus, the producers ensured that the audience majored in the conversation rather than other aspects. The filmmakers thus used numerous cinematography focus tactics to ensure that the scene’s primary objective was achieved.

Notably, to enhance realism and expressionism, the filmmakers used the Dutch Angle to establish a difference between these two concepts. Although the film was recorded in a low-income neighborhood in Brooklyn, the producers managed to redefine it by using murals to transform the street. Even though this was productive in the film’s overall success, the camera adjustments were crucial. The Dutch Angle, for instance, was effective in taking the audience out of their comfort zone by changing camera angles to show how characters view themselves or others. This is effective in the scene since it shows how Sal perceives the argument between Pino and the stranger. This is effective in revealing the emotions that Pino felt towards this community. Additionally, it shows his character- a short-tempered individual with no sense of control (Lindsrom, 2008). Moreover, it points out Sal as a gentle individual since he watches the argument first before deciding to intervene. Furthermore, it is used to point out relevant themes in the scene, such as segregation which is evident when Pino goes after the stranger. Spike Lee’s use of Dutch Angles effectively revealed characters and themes and heightened emotions. Another camera movement utilized in the scene was the use of zoom. Initially, the scene begins with Sal and Pino at a far. The camera zooms them in gradually as the conversation continues to grow. This is important in capturing the audience’s attention since it generates curiosity about the conversation’s nature. Additionally, zoom effectively created the notion that this was a privileged conversation between the two characters. The filmmakers thereby utilized several camera movement strategies to make the film successful.

Although the film “Do the Right Thing” was produced in the 1980s, the cast and production team used cinematography that ensured the movie remained relevant. The lighting, color films, focus, and camera angles were all crucial to the film’s overall success. Moreover, they were important in pointing out significant factors such as themes, characters, emotions, and subjects across the Sal and Pino scene. This was an important strategy that ensured the audience quickly comprehended these factors on watching the film. Cinematography strategies are, therefore, effective in ensuring a film is successful.

Lindsrom, S. (2008, April 9).  Do the right thing – Sal and Pino Talking . YouTube. Retrieved October 31, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzDuSZ4ED1c

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Studies of Black History at the University of San Diego

Remembrances, discussion, and analysis, do the right thing analysis and reflection.

do the right thing analysis essay

Do the Right thing analysis and reflection

In search of learning more about African American history during the African American history month, I attended the showing of the movie “Do the Right Thing”. In this essay, I shall provide an overview of the movie and personal analysis of its meaning.

Before actually watching the film, the title gave me the idea of it being about the story of African Americans overcoming some struggle with their environment and coming to terms in a peaceful manner. However, the film turned out to be anything but that. The stories started with DJ love daddy, a radio host in a neighborhood mostly filled with African Americans. He then introduces us to the town that he lives in and the main character, Mookie. Mookie is a delivery boy at a pizza restaurant that most people in the town eat. Sal is the owner of the pizza restaurant. Sal also happens to be one of the few white Americans living in this community filled mostly with African American, Hispanic and immigrants of other racial ethnicities. The differences in cultural background and beliefs certainly warranted tension between Sal and the community members. A character named Buggin Out had an unfriendly history with the owner Sal. Sal has a wall of fame in the restaurant full of white Americans. Buggin Out is offended by the lack of African Americans on the wall and demanded pictures of Africans be hanged. Sal refused his request as he did what he saw fit in his store. Buggin Out tried to get support from the crowd but failed to do so since they all had a long history of eating at Sal’s place. With that being said, Buggin Out is not the only person unsatisfied with Sal. Another character called Radio Raheem had an unpleasant history with Sal for playing his music too loudly in Sal’s restaurant. As their rage grew, Buggin Out and Radio Raheem decided to force Sal to hang up pictures of African Americans in his store. They marched into the store with blaring music demanding action from Sal. After some argument, Sal broke Radio Raheem’s music player to finally stop the music. In his rage, Radio Raheem attacked Sal and was arrested by police officers that arrived at the scene later. During the arrest, Radio Raheem fought back constantly and was choked to death by an officer. The crowd was enraged by this and burned down Sal’s place. The film ended with DJ love daddy announcing the news and stating it is going to be yet another hot day.

The movie was titled “Do the Right Thing”. However, I believe in the movie, nobody really did the right thing. Near the end of the movie, After Radio Raheem was killed. The angry mob was getting out of control. Mookie redirected their anger towards the store by throwing a trash can through the window of the restaurant. I believed this was the right thing to do at the time as the mob focused on trashing the restaurant instead of attacking Sal and his son.  However, the story ended with Mookie getting fired, and DJ love Daddy announcing it is going to be yet another hot day. I believe the hot day not only signifies the temperature the town is experiencing, but also the tension between the ethnic groups. So in the end, things never changed. Mookie saving Sal’s life saved him at the time, but he couldn’t solve the bigger, more systemic issues that are the root cause of the problem. Racial inequality and the lack of opportunity is the reason why the community is poor and discriminated against. In the story, Buggin Out and Radio Raheem decided to counteract this through the use of violence. They were merely searching for an equal representation of both whites and blacks on a wall of fame in a remote cafeteria, yet it ended up costing Radio Raheem his life. Although it seems like an irrelevant demand when taking in the big picture, I believe this struggle is a reflection of the bigger issue, equal access, and representation. As discussed in class. African American representation has always been very limited. African American representation is intentionally limited to a one-sided story can be told. As shown in the film, the wall of fame contained a one-sided story of white American being better than African Americans. It contained only pictures of white American achieving great heights. For an uninformative observer, after looking at the wall of fame, the only logical conclusion that the person can draw is praises for the white Americans. By doing this, a one-sided story is formed. The observer would walk away with the conclusion that no African Americans achieved enough to qualify for the wall of fame, making this person more susceptible to other one-sided stories that promoted racial inequality. I believe this movie is called do the right thing to refer to the right way to fight for set equality. As shown in the final scene of the movie, a picture of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr was hung up on the remains of Sal’s wall of fame. Two great civil rights leaders who spent their lives fighting for social justice under very different principles. Much like Malcolm X, Buggin Out and Radio Raheem tried to force Sal to change the picture through violence. And much like Martin Luther’s approach, Mookie saved Sal and kept only what he earned for his pay. I believe the title do the right thing doesn’t mean that anybody actually did the right thing in the movie, but more so, how to fight for your goal in the right way.

Near the end of the movie, DJ love Daddy stated it is yet another hot day. I believe signified that the tension in the community didn’t decrease due to the riot that just happened. A life lost due to the struggle for equality, yet very little was achieved through it. Had Buggin Out taken a different approach such as campaigning for African American representation or presenting a petition, maybe the violence and conflict could have been avoided. The easiest thing for Buggin Out to do was to demand representation through force, but the right thing is usually not the easiest thing to do.

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