^ Yeah, I think if Spike Lee's comments on the films had been as nuanced as that, it would be easier to digest. But I find his attitude (which leaks out in the film) indefensible. And if I'm focusing on heroes and villains it is because the title of the film is "Do the right thing" - and despite what Lee's racist remarks suggest, asking the question of whether the characters did the right thing or not (especially the main character) is entirely reasonable - and found to be wanting. What was the point of making that the title/ a theme, when the main character does the right thing, what once? twice? during the course of the film, and never when it really mattered? That's why I'm looking at the characters actions in terms of whether they were right or wrong.
Mother Sister was an ok character but I found her arrogant, and Senor Love Daddy kind of irritating (irritating kind of...). Mother Sister encouraged the rioting towards the end. Most if not all of the film's problems could have been resolved by the characters showing basic manners and politeness to one another, but none of them seemed capable of it excepting Da Mayor and Jade (who both proved how effective a tactic that is).
But I found Mookie to be a deeply unsympathetic character. The film lacks much in the way of interpersonal relationships. His "friendship" with Buggin Out was effectively just stated as a fact, not demonstrated, and same with all his relationships. Because the film simply told us that he was friends with this guy, even though most of the time Mookie was with the Italians, it made his actions at the end difficult to understand. That's one of the biggest problems for me- that his actions at the end are just so incomprehensible based on what we'd seen.
He was a lazy, irresponsible character who didn't want to do any work but still wanted bonuses like getting paid early; had no loyalty to the employer who was generously employing him and being good to him; a child he didn't take care of or seem concerned about at all in any meaningful way (he remembered the kid's name? father of the year award coming right up!); a Spanish girlfriend he neglected; and an incredibly, truly mind-blowing lack of empathy or understanding for Sal.
After wrecking his place and having the astonishing gall to go and ask for his wages, Mookie just doesn't get it at ALL when Sal tries to explain what it meant to him to have lost his life's work. He's a phenomenally self-centred character.
I get that the films "heats up" into an outpouring of pent up frustration and anger and so on (not a hugely subtle pathetic fallacy). But I personally would have liked the film a LOT better if Mookie had been at least been a better character (shown some remorse for his casual betrayal), and ideally had stuck on the side of Sal in the first place.
Also if Lee wanted us to feel anger at Radio Raheem's death, he made it very difficult by making Radio such an obnoxious, difficult to like character who brought it all down on himself in a clumsy heavy-handed way. He was a thug, and his (nearly successful) attempt to murder Sal was apparently irrelevant, when it came down to it, because all that mattered was a sense of blind racist victimisation.
The most absurd part has to be the Koreans convincing the mob that they shouldn't have their livelihoods trashed and lives endangered because they were sort of more black than white - and that justification was accepted as totally reasonable.
Finally, I'm genuinely surprised that this film is considered to have so much universal appeal that it rates so highly in places like IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes (the latter of which being a place where the few critics who didn't praise the film got attacked and criticised by everyone else)
Edited by SparkyCola, 03 February 2013 - 06:30 PM.